CHESHIRE — The Cheshire boys basketball team has had a gauntlet of a schedule over the past week and a half, and the run of difficult competition continued Wednesday night when the Rams hosted Hillhouse.
The Academics won the SCC interdivisonal contest 61-47 as Cheshire dropped its third straight game to a top five team in the state.
The Rams were able to hang with Hillhouse (8-2) for three quarters, trailing just 43-40. The New Haven school, however, exploded for a 17-3 run to open the final frame and break the game open.
The Academics polished the game off on the line. They were 24-for-28 from the charity stripe. Cheshire was 7-for-17.
“Foul shooting is usually a strong point, but the last few games they just haven’t been falling,” Cheshire coach Dan Lee said. “When you play a team like this, any mistake you make they capitalize on. I don’t think we took many bad shots. I thought we had some great looks and they just didn’t go in.”
Raiquan Clark scored a team-high 21 points and went 15-for-15 from the line for Hillhouse.
Cheshire (5-4) gave its home fans plenty to cheer for in the opening three quarters. Tyler Post put in an old-fashioned 3-point play with 3:54 left in the first quarter to put the Rams up 9-3.
The home squad led 9-8 after the first quarter. The second quarter belonged to Cheshire’s Andrew Yamin. The junior sank 12 of his 14 points in the frame. Cheshire point guard Collin Jordan (10 points) set up Yamin for a trey at the buzzer that touched nothing but net, giving the Rams a 25-23 edge at the half.
“He’s a real impact player,” Lee said. “He’s a tough-minded player and does whatever we need him to do.”
The two SCC interdivisional foes traded the lead in the third quarter until the Academics exploded for a 7-0 run late in the quarter to go up 43-37 with 39 seconds left.
Jordan brought the Cheshire student section to its feet with an acrobatic, old-fashioned 3-point play to trim the deficit to 43-40 before the decisive fourth quarter.
“We played hard, but the fourth quarter didn’t go in our favor,” the senior point guard said.
“It was pretty frustrating. We battled the whole game and they came out on top in the fourth quarter.”
Cheshire’s recent competition has been relentless. The Rams lost to the top team in the state, Fairfield Prep, 72-55 on Jan. 13 and then dropped an 80-75 decision to Career Magnet on Jan. 16.
“I don’t think a team has played a tougher three games in the state,” Lee said. “They like a challenge. They a great group of hardworking players that the coaching staff really respects and represents the school well.”
Hillhouse 61, Cheshire 47
Da’Quan Bowes 6 1-2 15, John Lewis 1 1-2 3, Shane Christie 4 3-4 14, Raiquan Clark 3 15-15 21, Dontell Glover Jr. 1 4-5 6, Aaron White 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 24-28 61.
Collin Jordan 4 2-2 10, Tyler Post 2 1-3 5, Reid Duglenski 2 0-0 5, John Rizzo 2 0-1 5, Pedro Pena 0 0-4 0, Mark Dietrich 0 0-0 0, Andrew Yamin 5 2-4 14, Justin Frazier 1 0-0 2, Heath Post 1 0-1 2, Dylan D’Addio 2 0-0 4. Totals: 19 7-17 47.
Hillhouse 08 15 20 18 — 61
Cheshire 09 16 15 07 — 47
3-Point Goals—Hillhouse 3 (Bowes 3); Cheshire 4 (Yamin 2, Rizzo, Duglenski). Team Records—Hillhouse 8-2; Cheshire 5-4.