Boys basketball: Trumbull Eagles look to build on success

Trumbull High’s boys basketball team, coach Buddy Bray believes, has the potential to build off of last year’s successful campaign.

To do so the Eagles will have to take an all-in approach to rebounding to make up for their lack of a main man on the boards.

“We’re going to have to gang rebound,” Bray said. “We’re going to have to rebound as a team. Everyone’s got to do their share off the glass.”

Last year, the Eagles went 17-3 during the regular season. They reached the FCIAC tournament semifinal game and were ousted by eventual champion Westhill of Stamford.

They were beaten by FCIAC foe Ridgefield, a team the Eagles had beaten in the conference quarterfinals as well as in the regular season, in the second round of the Class LL state playoffs.

Trumbull lost three starters, including FCIAC Player of the Year Jack Moore, to graduation.

The returning starters are captains J.J. Pfohl and Johnny McElroy, along with Danny Ruchalski.

Other key players are seniors Jake Cappello and Ryan Roberto.

Pfohl said, “We’ve been putting in so much hard work in the offseason. I’m excited to see what it’s going to turn into.”

McElroy said, “We had a very successful season last year. We’re just looking to keep working hard and keep going at the level we were at last year.”

The Eagles will strive to push the pace and feed off their work on the defensive end of the floor. “I think we’re going to be very good in transition,” Bray said.

Trumbull has a wealth of talented underclassmen, most notably a large sophomore group, including Timmond Williams, Evan Gutowski, Chris Brown, Isiah Johnson and Quintar Taylor.

Freshman Cape Holden is another player Bray is expecting big things from.

The Eagles are hopeful that their efforts in the preseason will pay dividends in the regular campaign. “The kids worked very hard in the fall,” Bray said. “I really like the group — really good kids, really good students.”

Teams on the slate include Danbury, which reached the FCIACs’ pinnacle game, Trinity Catholic of Stamford, Fairfield Warde and Ridgefield.

Among the games to circle on the schedule is a Feb. 4 clash with St Joseph in the annual Coaches vs Cancer fundraiser game, which will take place at Fairfield University, beginning at 8 p.m.

The Eagles won the Merit Classic in Stratford last year, and look forward to that tourney again this winter, when they will take on Harding of Bridgeport and host Stratford, Dec. 29 and 30, respectively.

Trumbull opens the season Saturday, Dec. 17, against Darien in a tip-off tourney at Staples High in Westport, beginning at 1 p.m.

The home opener is set for Monday, Dec. 19, when New Canaan visits for a 7:30 p.m. clash. Ridgefield comes to town on Friday, Dec. 23 for a 4 p.m. game.

Trumbull’s coaching staff, in addition to Bray, includes varsity assistant Matt Lindin, JV coach Vinny DiScala, freshman coach Rich Fisco, and volunteers Cliff Bray III and Remy Bourassa.

“I’m excited. I’m looking forward to the season,” said Bray, adding that his players have a strong desire to succeed. “They’re hungry.”