Girls basketball: Trumbull advances with win over Masuk

Trumbull High girls basketball coach Steve Tobitsch wanted to see his Eagles come out with a strong performance in its return to the court, the day after Christmas.

How about a 17-4 lead after one quarter of play in the opener of the Masuk Holiday Tournament against the host Panthers on Monday night?

“I thought our girls came out really focused and they were excited to play,” said a satisfied Tobitsch, whose squad cruised to a 49-33 win, advancing to face Bethel High in Wednesday’s championship game.

The Eagles improved to 5-0 in the process. “I thought we had great team energy. It was a great team win.”

That was certainly the case, as all 13 team members got playing time and contributed in the victory.

Claudia Tucci led all scorers with 18 points, all by the end of the third quarter, and Julie Keckler added 10.

Brady-Ayn Lynch had six points, Aisling Maguire dropped in five, Taylor Brown scored four, and Krystina Schueler, Kelly O’Leary and Jessica Lipinski had three, two and one, respectively.

“I think it’s good for team morale,” Tobitsch said of everybody getting some game play under their belts. “They did a really nice job.”

The Eagles scored in a variety of ways, hitting shots from the outside — some on drives and kick-outs — others in transition and some off offensive rebounds.

Maguire hit a 3-pointer, one of five Trumbull shots from downtown, for a 15-4 lead, and Brown’s layup capped the opening-frame scoring.

The teams went back and forth throughout the second quarter and traded 3-pointers in the waning minutes of the opening half. Keckler and Tucci both canned shots from behind the arc to help the Eagles to a 30-15 lead at the intermission.

Trumbull started the second half on a 9-0 run,as Maguire scored on a putback, Tucci sank a 3-pointer, Keckler cashed in following a steal, and Tucci added two more off an offensive rebound.

“We’ve been playing together for so long. We have good communication on and off the court, and that helps a lot,” captain Victoria Ray said.

The Eagles were coming off a win over previously unbeaten Ridgefield on Dec. 23, an outcome the players believe they can build off.

“We gained a lot of confidence after our big win over Ridgefield,” said Brown. The captain added that she liked the team effort versus Masuk in terms of contributions from throughout the lineup and in the way the Eagles played together. She said: “We all did really well as a team. We shared the ball.”