Eagles within reach of state tourney

The Trumbull High boys basketball team defeated Brookfield, 63-42, on Monday to improve to 5-5 at the season’s midway point. Without a senior starter, the Eagles need three more wins to qualify for states.

“We’re trying to keep it positive,” said Trumbull coach Buddy Bray. “We lost a couple really tough ones, three games by two points, and one that they forced the game into overtime and hit a long three at the buzzer. So those four games could’ve went our way too.

“At the end of the day we’re 5-5. In the second half, some very good teams coming up starting with Harding (last night). We knew what was ahead of us. Some of those close losses early in the year are going to hurt you a little bit in our league. You got to win on nights you’re supposed to win.”

Rashard Rodriguez led the Eagles with 17 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, while Eddie McElroy added 13 points on three 3-pointers.

Matt Turner scored 12 points and had eight rebounds and nine assists.

Billy Brown added nine points for Trumbull.

Thomas Walker and Muhammad Sahki each had 10 points for Brookfield.

Trumbull went on a 13-0 run in the first quarter, starting with a Rodriguez layup and 3-pointer, then McElroy hit a three and followed that with a steal, finished with a layup.

Rodriguez completed the run with a layup, before Tommy Burkhart hit a Brookfield layup and Chris Lyons laid one in for Trumbull to make it 20-8 Eagles after one quarter.

In the second period, Brookfield fought back, outscoring Trumbull 15-4 behind eight points from Sakhi. Turner hit two free throws and Brown a jumper to make it a 24-23 game at halftime.

“We were getting good shots, we just hit a little cold spell there,” Bray said. “They got a couple solid players and they started making shots. Once we started turning them over and getting some easy ones then the game started to open up.”

Sakhi scored the first points of the third quarter, giving Brookfield its first lead of the game.

Rodriguez answered with a jump shot and was fouled, making it a three-point play. Walker responded with a jumper to tie the game at 27 and Mustafa Sakhi made one of two at the line for a 28-27 lead.

It was short-lived, as Brown’s drive gave Trumbull the lead, and another layup to make it 31-28.

Turner then hit a jumper, starting a 15-6 Trumbull run to close the third quarter. Rodriguez followed Turner with a layup and then a three, to which Brown hit a three.

Rodriguez made a layup and nailed a three himself to give Trumbull a 46-34 lead heading into the fourth.

Trumbull and Brookfield were exchanging free throws early in fourth, when the Eagles then put together a 12-0 run starting with a McElroy three.

Frank Puglia hit a layup and was fouled, making it a three-point play. McElroy followed with a drive to the hoop and Lyons made a hook shot.

Alex Recker’s layup gave Trumbull a comfortable 60-39 advantage, ultimately winning 63-42 after Eddie Giovannini’s 3-pointer in the final seconds.

“We feel confident,” Bray said. “We’re working hard. They’re a fun group to coach. I think at times there’s some really good moments out there, we’ve just got to sustain it. We’re young and when they do gel and move the basketball, we could be a pretty good team.”

Trumbull will host St. Joseph on Friday night at 7.