Trinity Catholic boys ride starters past Warde
The Trinity Catholic boys' basketball team may not have depth, but it sure has heart.
Trinity played all five of its starters the entire game and rode a hot start to hold off a surging Fairfield Warde 53-48.
After jumping out a 17-5 first quarter lead in which 14 points came from inside the paint, the Crusaders took their foot off the gas and limped into halftime with a precarious 25-23 margin.
Warde even took a five-point lead into the fourth quarter and would have eked out a win if not for the resilience of Trinity sophomore point guard Schadrac Casimir, who had nine of his game-high 19 points in the final period.
"We needed this one bad after our tough loss to McMahon the other day," said Casimir, who added 10 rebounds, five assists, and five steals. "The FCIAC thinks we are weak and we are out to prove them wrong. We are going to surprise some people because we are starting to play together."
When asked whether playing the entire game takes its toll on the team, Casimir consented, but added, "We aren't going to complain because nobody would listen, so we play as hard as we can."
Trinity, whose only senior starter is Jonathon Boykin, showed grit and determination late in a game that probably shouldn't have been as close as it was. Though they made some mental mistakes throughout the game that allowed the Mustangs to claw their way back, including a last-second basket before the half, Trinity coach Mike Walsh did take positives away from the game.
"At halftime I kind of let them have it because they never should have got that shot off and after the first quarter we stopped going inside," said Walsh. "We didn't play our best defense, which allowed them to get back into the game. Though there is some frustration with our execution, I am proud of our effort. We just have to become a little bit smarter and make better decisions on the ball."
According to Warde coach Ryan Swaller, falling behind early has been the inauspicious calling card of his team thus far.
"I just feel it's the same thing all over again -- we get into a hole, fight our way out, play well, and show our true potential," Swaller said. "We turned it into a good game and even took a fourth quarter lead."
Warde fought back despite the foul trouble of big man Patrick Kerrigan. Sal Siciliano and Mike Wright added key minutes for the Mustangs, as Wright contributed 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
"From day one our depth has been our strength," Swaller said. "Patrick was in foul trouble but to have Sal and Mike coming off the bench does help us not worry about it. Our game plan coming into tonight, knowing they didn't have a bench, was to try to run them early so they'd feel it late, but it didn't go our way."
The turning point in the game came midway through the fourth quarter with Warde clinging to a one-point lead. After a missed 3-pointer from Boykin, Casimir, the shortest player on the court, got to the long rebound and drove to the hoop. He was hacked as he got to the rim, but was able to spin his off-balance shot off the glass to give Trinity a lead it wouldn't surrender.
Boykin added 13 points for the Crusaders, including three late free throws to secure victory. Tyler Walston added nine points and eight rebounds and Aaron Spence added eight points and eight rebounds for Trinty.