Trinity remains unbeaten with win over Norwalk
Published 4:25 pm, Wednesday, December 26, 2012
On a night of memorable offensive performances, it was a familiar commodity that allowed the Trinity Catholic boys basketball team to remain unbeaten.
The Crusaders forced 24 turnovers with an active 2-3 zone and handed Norwalk its first loss, 77-67, last Friday night.
"I thought we played pretty well on the defensive end, especially on the boards," Trinity coach Mike Walsh said. "We had scouted them twice and we thought we could be aggressive in the zone. They have some good players."
On a night when Schadrac Casimir was sensational for a half, Brandon Wheeler stepped up, scoring 22 of his career-high 33 points after the break.
Casimir, who is averaging 27.8 points, had an almost exact replica of the season-opening game against Bridgeport Central, scoring 22 points in the opening half and finishing with 26 after the Bears went to a box-and-one, with Jeremy Linton shadowing the Trinity guard all over the floor.
"They stepped up the defense, I have to give them credit, but then Brandon Wheeler stepped up big," Casimir said. "It wasn't a surprise to me. I always knew he could do it. We've always had scorers here in the past so no one knew what we could do."
The Bears (3-1) never led in the game and forged three ties, the last at 45-45 on a putback by Saeed Soulemane (13 points) with 3:16 left in the third quarter. Trinity (4-0) scored seven unanswered points in a minute, with Wheeler hitting a layup off a Trinity steal, then coming up with a steal of his own and converting it into a basket.
The Crusaders soon added a 16-5 run to put the game away.
"The kids played hard, but it seemed like every time we got close we turned the ball over," Norwalk coach Thomas Keyes said. "We didn't take care of the ball the way we needed to if we are going to come in and win on the road."
"We missed some shots we usually make," Keyes said. "We dug a hole early and we played uphill all night. Sometimes you play hard and lose, and that's what happened tonight."
Casimir, the individual story of the FCIAC season thus far, put on another show at the outset, scoring on a drive on the opening possession and playing a part in 14 of the Crusaders' 21 first-quarter points.
Casimir finished plays while spinning madly like a top, off of steals, off the dribble and off of his teammates finding him for open shots.
"I got hot and they got me the ball in the right spots," Casimir said.
Figuring the Bears would put all their defensive efforts on Casimir at some point, Walsh spent the last two practices working on some plays designed for Wheeler.
"We knew we could get it to him and he responded," Walsh said. "He did it going inside and outside. He had a great second half."
Tremain Fraiser scored 7 of his 13 points in the final quarter, including a thunderous dunk down the stretch.
Only four players scored for the Crusaders, but there were intangible contributions from all eight who saw playing time, especially on the boards.
But in the end, it might have been the one constant that has linked Trinity's success for the past two decades that meant the most.
"I think that was our best game defensively," Casimir said. "We locked up today."
TRINITY CATHOLIC 77, NORWALK 67
NORWALK (3-1): Sean Butler 0 0-0 0; Saeed Soulemane 4 5-7 13; Roy Kane 6 3-5 16; Jabari Dear 8 0-2 21; Nick Boccanfuso 1 3-4 5; Jeremy Linton 3 0-0 8; Luke Sweeney 2 0-0 4; Zaire Wwwilson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 24 11-18 67.
TRINITY CATHOLIC (4-0): Sean Brown 1 3-4 5; Schadrac Casimir 10 3-3 26; Tremain Fraiser 6 0-0 13; Brandon Wheeler 14 3-3 33; Neno Merritt 0 0-0 0; Justice Paige 0 0-0 0; Tyrell St. John 0 0-0 0; Danny O'Leary 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 31 9-10 77.
NORWALK 18 15 18 16--67
TRINITY 21 18 16 22--77
3-point shots: N--Kane, Dear 5, Linton 2; TC--Casimir 3, Fraiser, Wheeler 2.