Boys basketball: Trumbull defeats St. Joseph, advances in FCIACS

FAIRFIELD — It was a little bit No 1 versus No 8 — and a lot of Trumbull High and St. Joseph renewing their rivalry — when the Eagles defeated the Cadets, 87-72, to cap the FCIAC quarterfinal round of games played at Warde High Saturday night.

“When the floor opens up this this group wants to go,” Trumbull coach Buddy Bray said after the Eagles, now 18-3, advanced to play No. 5 Ridgefield in Tuesday’s semifinal round at Wilton. “Timmond Williams is very talented, works hard with that talent, and always expect the ball to go down.”

Williams scored 22 of his 40 points in the first quarter, which Trumbull opened with a 17-3 run.

His fifth 3-pointer beat the buzzer by a couple of seconds — and staked the Eagles to a 28-17 lead.

“When Timmond makes shots like that it is going to be a long night,” Cadet coach Kevin Wielk said. “That is a great, well-coached Trumbull team. It’s not easy coming back, and then coming back again. We couldn’t get over that final hump, but never stopped trying.”

Wielk’s 11-10 squad won the second quarter, 17-10, to get back in it.

Stephen Paolini (25 points, 10 rebounds) and Dan Tobin (9 points, 12 rebounds) led a late charge by St. Joseph to make it 38-34 after Tobin’s steal and layup closed out the half.

Tobin scored on a reverse layup off a feed from freshman Jason James (four assists, four steals) to start the third quarter, and the Trumbull lead was two.

That’s when Williams’ scoring sidekick Chris Brown took over.

Brown scored nine points to answer every challenge posed by St. Joseph’s Paolini, who had 10 in the stanza.

Steady Eddie Brown nailed a three-pointer coming out of a Cadet time out to take the Eagles’ advantage to 54-45.

As for Williams, he scored Trumbull’s final seven points in the quarter that ended with his team on top 61-53.

“Me and Chris have been playing together for 15 years,” Williams said. “It was our dream to play together in high school. I always know where he is on the court. We work as a team.”

Brown, who finished with 28 points, eight assists, six rebounds and blocked five shots, said, “Timmond is like my brother, on and off the court. What works for all of is that everyone knows their role.”

Brendan Kade (11 points) made a three-pointer to bring the Cadets within 69-61 with 4:08 remaining.

Paul Fabbri (14 points) swished home two threes.

Trumbull’s Mileeq Green, who had two baskets to begin the quarter, assisted on baskets by Wlliams and Brown to stem the tide.

Brown’s end-to-end basket off his rebound was the catalyst for the Eagles’ game-closing 13-5 run.

“Mileeq does everything for us,” Williams said of the sophomore guard. “He always has his head up, and just knows the game. He is everywhere.’

That included inside the lane, where Green had 12 rebounds to go with six assists.

“I’m proud of my kids,” Bray said. “Q (Quentar Williams) is our quarterback and did a great job. Both he and Evan (Gutowski) got in foul trouble, but our bench played well. Then when they went back in things opened up for us.

TRUMBULL 87, ST. JOSEPH 72 (at Warde) 

St. Joseph (11-10) 

Steve Paolini 9 5-6 25, Dan Tobin 4 1-2 9, Paul Fabbri 4 4-9 14, Brendan Kade 3 2-2 11, Jason James 2 3-6 8, Tommy Shannon 0 0-0 0, Tyler DuBose 1 1-1 3, Glen Manigault 1 0-0 2, Hayden Gourley 0 0-0 0

Totals:  24 16-26 72

Trumbull (18-3) 

Mileeg Green 6 0-0 13, Chris Brown 13 1-2 28, Timmond Williams 16 1-3 39, Evan Gutowski 1 0-3 2, Quentar Taylor 0 0-0 0, Lance Walsh 0 0-0 0, Dylan Palinkas 1 0-0 2, Isaiah Johnson 0 0-0 0, JP Fromagest 0 0-0 0, Jack Therriault 0 2-3 2, Jake Grutadauria 0 0-0 0, Johnny McCain.

Totals:  37 4-11 87

Scoring by Quarters  

St. Joseph - 17 17 19 19 - 72

Trumbull -   28 10 23 26 – 87

3-Pointers: SJ-Kade 3, Paolini 2, Fabbri 2, James; T-Williams 6, Green, Brown