Rashard Rodrigues joins select basketball club

Rashard Rodrigues’ timing was perfect.

A senior forward on the Trumbull High boys basketball team, Rodrigues made a great catch on the run of Eddie McElroy’s full-court pass and put it in off the glass while being fouled.

Just to his right, Rodrigues turned to see the Trumbull High student section — the Black Hole — cheering his name and holding signs.

Rodrigues’ basket gave him the 1,000th point of his career, and Trumbull a 57-39 lead with 1:57 remaining in the third quarter of its Class LL first-round state tournament game with Bridgeport Central on Monday night.

The Eagles advanced with an 86-60 decision over the defending state champions, and Rodrigues closed the game with 19 points to join Harold Jensen (1,376 points; 1981-83) as the program’s only two players to reach the milestone.

“I’m extremely happy for Rashard,” said Buddy Bray, who has been the head coach at Trumbull for 25 seasons. “He’s my first 1,000-point scorer and I’m very proud of him and happy for his mom and dad.”

After the game, Rodrigues was presented a game ball commemorating the feat, then took pictures with teammates, cheerleaders, friends and family.

“I’ve had to learn to let the game come to me,” Rodrigues said, while admitting he was nervous as the number grew closer. “This team has a lot of chemistry. We’ve been together, most of us since freshman year.

“Like coach says, ‘You have to trust your teammates.’ If you give it up, you’ll get it back.

“That’s what he reminded us when they had the lead (in the first quarter). He reminded us to trust each other and slow them down.”

“It feels great because our goal since freshman year has been to play like this. We’ve put the pieces together by playing summer league, AAU, whatever it takes.”

Bray said, “I like the fact that the kids on the team were so happy for him, that they shared in the moment.

“This (game) is something  Rashard will have for the rest of his life. He deserved it.”