Boys basketball: Trumbull Eagles handle pressure to advance
Anything worthwhile should not easily be attained.
Trumbull High boys basketball coach Buddy Bray made sure his Eagles were aware of that fact, so when challenged by Norwalk High as they were in the FCIAC semifinals on Tuesday night his cagers were ready.
“No pressure — no diamond. That is what is written on our whiteboard in the locker room,” Bray said after his Eagles advanced to their first conference title game in 35 years with an 82-75 thriller over the Bears before a packed house at the Zeoli Field House in Wilton on Tuesday night.
“There is going to be pressure, it builds as you get better. The players persevered. I’m very proud of them.”
Trumbull will play Danbury High for the title at Zeoli on Thursday night at 7.
The third-seeded Hatters upended Trinity Catholic, the second seed, 43-40 in the first semi-final game.
“This is my first final as a head coach,” Bray said. “Our last champion (from Trumbull) was 35 years ago when we had Harold Jensen, Johnny Pfohl and Billy Brown (leading the way). Danbury is a great team and it’s going to be a very good game.”
It will be difficult to match the will to win displayed by the fifth-seeded Eagles and coach Tom Keyes’ eighth-seeded Bears.
Timmond Williams (27 points) and Chris Brown (22 points) had plenty of help from Quentar Taylor, Evan Gutowski, J.P. Fromageot, Jack Theriault and Mileeq Green as Trumbull forced turnovers and used its transition game to go on a 27-14 run in the second quarter.
That spurt extended the Eagles’ 18-16 lead after one period to 45-30 at the half.
The advantage ballooned to 18 in the third quarter, before Norwalk’s Tyrique Langley nailed a 3-pointer to narrow the Bears’ deficit to 62-48 after three periods.
Langley (21 points), Zyaire Sellers (12 points) and Xavier Vines kept plugging away, and the Trumbull lead kept shrinking, until the Bears had whittled it down to a mere three points.
Green, a freshman who finished with 17 points, made a brace of free throws in the final minute.
Gutowski had a crucial putback.
Williams and Brown had eight points each in the closing frame.