Young group has Trumbull in season of growth

Seniors Connor Johnson and Ray Vincente lead Trumbull.

Seniors Connor Johnson and Ray Vincente lead Trumbull.

Trumbull Athletics / Contributed photo

Trumbull divided decisions in its first two games of the season.

Trumbull led at each three-quarter break in its season-opening 60-49 win over visiting Masuk.

“There was a lot of energy in the gym in the Masuk game,” coach Buddy Bray said. “The kids are playing in front of big crowds. That’s going to have an effect. They have got to work through those challenges. I don’t know if we beat Masuk without the Black Hole (student section). And I know it was tough playing in front of a hostile environment at Amity.”

Amity topped the locals 59-52 in Woodbridge on Saturday.

“We had a good lead on Amity, up 10 at the half. We had a bad third quarter but played well enough to come back to cut it to one point in the fourth. You could see our inexperience. We did well for three of the four quarters. We showed toughness,” Bray said. “We were undersized against Masuk and did nice job. We got hurt against Amity, they were bigger and a bit stronger. Finishing our possessions with our rebounds is going to be big all year.”

Against Masuk, Luca Antonio scored 13 points, Brandon Fowler 12, Ray Vincente 11, Connor Johnston nine, and Sean Racette eight. Fowler had three of Trumbull’s eight 3-pointers.

Johnston scored 12 points in the Amity game. Vicente, Racette and Fowler had eight points each.

Trumbull played in two summer leagues, and one in the fall, to gain game experience.

“We lost 10 players from last year,” Bray said of the team that went 4-9. “Connor Johnston, who has been playing varsity since sophomore year, and Ray Vicente are our only seniors. We have a very young group. We started sophomores in both games.”

Bray likes the makeup of his team.

“We are playing team basketball, sharing the ball,” he said. “We have no stars. We know we have got to get it done together. We’re looking to keep learning. It is big picture, it’s a rebuild, we know that. It’s a tough league to be in a rebuild. Every team is good.

“Connor is a big piece for us. Ray, Luca and Sean Ricette are doing a nice job,” he added. “Brandon Fowler is doing a good job rebounding. We are athletic, run well. We are getting contributions off the bench as well. Sophomores Ben Miller and Brian Elmo are contributing. Junior Will Zaslow is our first big off the bench and is doing a nice in his role. Kieran O’Sullivan, a junior, and Aidan Copeland, another junior, come in off the bench as well.”

Growing pains are expected.

“I think the best thing is that this group is realizing their role,” Bray said. “They are learning on the fly. In past years, when we had senior-dominated group, these guys would be playing jayvee ball to learn. Ryan Johnston, a freshman played himself onto the varsity roster. We have two freshmen playing jayvee.

“We have 13 sophomores in the program, three are getting their feet wet with the varsity. We had 44 freshmen try out. There is interest. Kids want to get in gym, they want to be competitive. That part is nice to see. The program will better in the next year. We’ll be back playing those tough FCIAC games.

“We are seeing some good things,” he said. “But we will have to live with some mistakes this year and grow from them. These kids are being thrown into the fire. We hope each game they make corrections. We will have to live through some of that.

“We have a good out of league schedule. I did that for a reason. I want to build confidence, but you also want to show them what it takes to play FCIAC basketball. The record is going to be what it is. It is going to supply some toughness moving forward.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354