Eagles putting right foot forward

For one half of basketball, the Trumbull High boys basketball team played neck-and-neck with Bridgeport Central, before the Hilltoppers went off in the third quarter, outscoring the Eagles 28-8, en route to 89-64 win at the Webster Bank Arena on Friday night.

“We had some kids injured and out with the flu, but we’re back at full strength,” Trumbull coach Buddy Bray said. “We didn’t think we could play them man-to-man. When they (Central) were making those threes, it becomes a long night.”

Rashard Rodriguez led 2-9 Trumbull with 14 points, while Matt Turner added nine and Jake Levinson had eight for the Eagles.

ShaQuan Bretoux led the 8-3 Hilltoppers with 27 points, Tyler Ancrum added 25 points, Marcus Blackwell had 14 and Orhan Cecunjanin added 11 points off the bench.

“Rodriguez is a sophomore and Turner is only a freshman so for them it’s exciting and the kids that came in late in the game were all freshmen and sophomores so I thought they had a lot of fun,” Bray said.

“Fun is one thing, we’re trying to win and build an attitude a little bit. We feel good about the future. Our freshmen class on the whole is pretty good.”

In the first quarter, Trumbull matched Central shot for shot. After Bill Stickle and Rodriguez started the game with made jumpers, Ancrum scored a layup and then nailed a three. Trumbull’s Ryan McCabe answered with a long two-pointer before Central went off on a 10-2 run.

The Eagles responded with two layups from John Watts and a drive by from Luke Waldek in between seven consecutive points from Michael St. Victor that gave Central a 26-16 lead after a quarter.

Central started on a 6-2 run to take a 32-20 lead, before Trumbull answered with a Rodriguez three and a Jermaine Alston layup. Central answered with a 7-2 run to give the Hilltoppers a 39-29 lead at the half.

Trumbull came out fighting with a 6-4 run thanks to a Stickle jumper and Levinson’s jumper and layup to make it a 43-35 game.

Central then put it away with a 13-0 run on three consecutive treys, two from Bretoux and one from Ancrum.

After a Turner jumper, Central scored nine straight points for a 67-37 lead entering the fourth.

“That’s a credit to Central,” Bray said. “We didn’t protect the ball, made bad passes and missed second shots on the glass. They’re going to do very well down the stretch. They’re a playoff team, they’ve got a veteran coach and they’re going to make a run at it.”

The Eagles didn’t quit, as Trumbull outscored Central 27-22 in the fourth, thanks to five points from Turner, two Rodriguez treys and an Eddie McElroy 3-pointer.

“We’ll be back,” Bray said. “We’ll get them back going. I feel bad for the seniors, but they’re good kids they’re working hard. We still got some games to play and we’ll be okay.”

Trumbull lost a 65-55 decision at Norwalk High on Tuesday. Rodriguez scored 22 points and McCabe had 11 points for the Eagles.

Jabari Dear scored 23 points to lead the Bears (10-4).