NORWALK -- Down by a point to McMahon with 9.4 seconds remaining, Trumbull head coach Buddy Bray called timeout and drew up a play that would hopefully get the ball inside for a layup or a trip to the foul line. But McMahon pressured freshman guard Matt Turner into an errant off-balance jump shot from just inside the foul line and the Senators hung on to win 52-51 Tuesday night.
"Over the past two weeks, we've had 1- and 2-point games, and I discussed that good individuals will lose a 1-point game, whereas good teams will come out on top," McMahon coach Ken Dustin said. "I think nowadays we're coming together as a team and we're working for each other."
The miss by Trumbull came on the heels of a wild last minute, replete with turnovers and defensive stops. McMahon was trailing by one with 23.6 seconds left when Dustin called timeout. He was hoping to get the ball in the hands of junior guard Larry McKinney (game-high 31 points) in McMahon's backcourt, but when Trumbull overcommitted in trying to deny him the ball, McKinney cut to the baseline under Trumbull's basket and received the inbounds pass. His first offering was blocked, but McKinney came away with the loose ball under the net and converted the layup with 17 seconds left to put McMahon ahead.
"We got the nice block on the baseline on a great player, it was just a tough break," Bray said. "Maybe we should have thrown it down court (after the block), but we threw it inbounds. To their credit they stayed after the play and made the bucket when they needed it."
McMahon ran its record to 3-9 while Trumbull fell to 2-8.
McKinney was held scoreless by Trumbull in the opening quarter as the Eagles went ahead 13-6 behind 5 points from sophomore guard Rashard Rodriguez. But McKinney, a lefty with a knack for getting to the rim, opened the scoring in the second quarter and started warming up.
Trumbull was ahead 21-12, its biggest lead of the night, before McMahon went on a 7-0 run to end the half. The run was due in part to foul trouble with junior forward Jake Levison, Bray said.
"We got kind of small and they made that real good run right before the half and that hurt right there," he said.
Trailing by two in the third quarter, McMahon got its first tie since it was 0-0 when McKinney converted two free throws. They took their first lead of the game with 4 minutes left in the quarter when McKinney -- 7 of 8 from the free throw line -- connected on another pair to put McMahon ahead 27-26. He scored 14 points in the quarter as the lead changed hands several times, with McMahon holding a 39-39 lead as the fourth quarter began.
"My team had a lot of faith in me tonight. They saw I was getting hot second half so they kept coming to me," McKinney said. "A lot of things they didn't give us, so we had to keep going through the motions three or four times. Coach kept preaching to reverse the ball and it would open up zones, so we kept it moving."
Early in the fourth quarter McKinney pushed the lead to eight points with a 3-pointer and a layup. The Senators scored the quarter's first seven points and led 46-38 before Trumbull's Kevin Mott ended the run with a bucket.
The Eagles shrank the lead to one with 1:42 left when Rodriguez (team-high 19 points) sank a 3-pointer. On the ensuing possession, a jump ball gave Trumbull possession, but the Eagles turned it over. McMahon returned the favor with its own turnover, and then Rodriguez was fouled on a drive to the basket. He converted both free throws to give the Eagles their last lead, 51-50.
McKinney then capped the scoring with his layup with under 10 seconds to play.
"Credit McMahon, they made the shot when they needed it," Bray said."(McKinney) is a very good player."