Trumbull Eagles soar past Tigers in boys hoops, 48-35

After playing such an emotionally charged game Saturday night, Trumbull High School boys basketball head coach Buddy Bray wasn't sure what to expect during Tuesday night's game against Ridgefield.

However the Eagles came out flying in the first quarter and didn't look back, upending the Tigers  48-35 in a key FCIAC matchup for both teams.

"An FCIAC win is an FCIAC win," Bray said. "They had some victories in the FCIAC against some teams that we lost to. We were hoping, since we were playing at home, to jump on them in the first quarter. That kind of helped us get off to a good start. We knew going in that this would be a grind it out game and we had to value possessions and attack the rim."

The Eagles were paced by Rashard Rodriguez, who finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

"It was a grind it out game today," Rodriguez said. "They are a tough team and beat Staples. We knew coming in that it would be tough and we worked in practice different ways because we knew it would be a tough game to win. I felt good and the team felt good. The chemistry was there and we were moving the ball around. It was a tough game and we pulled through."

In addition, Bennett McCullough finished with six points, 10 boards and four blocks. Not to be outdone was Lyons, who also added six points but also netted six rebounds on the night. Billy Brown added 10 points, while Brandon Owen contributed with five points.

Edward McElroy finished without tallying a point on the scoreboard, however Trumbull's bench picked up the team.

"Rashard did a great job getting to the rim tonight," Bray said. "They did a nice job on McElroy. I thought the bench did a really nice job coming in. Guys like Brandon Owen, Mike Miller, Frankie [Puglia] and Jack Moore came in and played key minutes. My kids contributed in different ways from the bench and they've been working extremely hard in practice. It was good to see them contribute."

For the Tigers, Will Brady paced the team with 13 points. Matthew Saporito added eight points and Matthew Bartolucci grabbed six points.

"I thought they came out very aggressive and they caught us on our heels," Ridgefield High School head coach Andrew McClellan said. "They controlled the whole game. From the second to the fourth quarter, the scoreboard said it was even, but they were in control the whole way because of the way they came out in the first quarter. They are a good, solid team with five good players and when you let them play their game, it's tough to beat them."

For the RHS head coach, it was the first quarter that he believes was the difference maker. At the start of the second quarter, the Tigers weren't able to break double digits and found themselves down 18-8.

"We played pretty good defense in the beginning and they missed shots, but they beat us on the offensive boards," McClellan said. "On the offensive end, we just weren't mentally tough enough to get those great shots. When they didn't fall, Trumbull kind of took control and we chased the rest of the way."

With Trumbull playing its cross-town rival Saturday night in Fairfield University's Alumni Hall, having limited practice on Sunday and no school due to the snow and ice Monday, Bray said that he had concerns playing the Tigers.

"The way the schedule falls some times is tough," Bray said. "We did what we did on Saturday, had a quick turnaround and didn't get much done Sunday. We caught snow on Monday. We got up early today and tried to shoot. We shot after school and before the game. We were trying to get prepared, and without that practice day, it's really tough. I was really nervous. They are a well-coached team and have some good, skilled players. It was good that we were home and got off to a good start."