The Trumbull High boys basketball team returned home with its third consecutive Merit Insurance Classic title in Stratford on Friday night.

Coach Buddy Bray’s Eagles defeated Harding High, 63-56, as they withstood a rally by John Bagley’s Presidents.

“I’m proud of them,” said Bray after his squad improved to 3-1.. “John had his team playing very patient and we had to make some plays down the stretch. This is is a good confidence booster.”

Chris Brown was named Classic MVP, after he scored 17 points to lead Trumbull.

“We worked on beating their pressure by going over the top,” said Brown, who had five steals. “They are a very good defensive team. I think we have a lot of players that can put the ball in the hoop and that helps when the games are close.”

Timmond Williams (16 points, 8 rebounds) and Evan Gutowski (12 points, 12 rebounds) were named All-Classic.

Harding made it a two-possession game at 60-54, behind All-Classic performer Tra'Vel Upchurch (15 points).

Trumbull’s Cape Holden hit two free throws with 34.5 seconds remaining and Williams added a freebie with 7.5 on the clock to secure the win.

Each team came out shooting well: Harding was 5-for-6 from the floor; Trumbull 6-for-7 from the field in the first four minutes of the final.

Brown had six points in the frame to go with a steal and an assist.

Williams had four points and a steal, Gutowski a bucket and three rebounds, Quentar Taylor two points and an assist, and Holden a 3-pointer and an assist, as Trumbull took a 20-15 lead into the first break.

As hot as the shooting was in the opening period, the scoring was scarce in the second.

Harding won the canto 10-6 to make it 26-25 at the half. Trumbull’s defense was bolstered by three rebounds by Jack Therriault.

The Eagles scored points on 7-of-8 possessions to begin the third period.

Taylor (5 rebounds) beat President pressure, Gutowski passed well, Williams ran the floor to score a pair of baskets, and Trumbull led 39-27 at the 4:40 mark.

Brown had four points and assisted on a Gutowski bucket in the final stages of the third and the Eagles took a 45-34 lead into the fourth quarter.

Harding               

Markis Christie               4           1-2       9

Keith Bush                       1           0-0       2

Xavier McBride              0           0-0       0

David Council                  1           0-0       3

Zomir Hairston               3           0-0       8

Cordel Walker                0           0-0       0

Tron Hampton                0           0-0       0

Tra'Vel Upchurch        7           1-5       15

John Hypolite                 2           0-0       4

Tae-Ron Williams          2           0-0       5

Josue Rivera                    1           1-2       4

Leun Harvey                    1           0-0       3

Totals                                 22        3-9       56

Trumbull

Chris Brown                     5           7-10    18

Cape Holden                   1           2-2       5

Quentar Taylor               4           1-1       9

Timmond Williams        6           4-6       16

Evan Gutkowski             5           2-2       12

JP Fromageot                 0           1-2       1

JT Therriault                   0           1-2       1

Isaiah Johnson               0           0-0       0

Totals                                21         18-25     63