Trumbull wins big on Senior Night to clinch FCIAC berth
The Trumbull High School boys basketball team didn't let its seniors down Monday night.
Playing in front of a raucous student section, the Eagles honored its seven seniors in grand fashion, trouncing Fairfield Warde High School 78-62 and earning a berth into the upcoming Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference tournament.
"We tell the kids that it's a journey," Trumbull head coach Buddy Bray said. "We hit a little rough patch, but we worked through it. We had a little sickness, some injuries and it was a tough winter, but we are here. We still made it and it's something we should be proud of. One of our goals is to be a playoff team and now we have an opportunity."
The Eagles were led by senior captain Rashard Rodriguez, who finished with a game-high 29 points. 10 rebounds and seven assists. Not to be outdone was fellow senior captain Eddie McElroy, as he added 18 points. The other senior captain, Billy Brown, contributed with 12 points, six rebounds and six assists.
"We caught fire in the second quarter," Bray said. "It was nice to see the kids knock down shots because we really work on them. You got to knock down shots in our league. The kids played a really nice second quarter and I think Rashard played a complete game."
Both Chris Lyons and Ben McCullough each picked up six points in the winning effort.
For the Mustangs, Marcel Parsons led the team with 23 points, while Chris Smaldone added 16 points. Malcom Brune tallied eight points in the defeat.
"We played well for most of the stretch, but we had one stretch where I thought we got a little selfish and didn't share the basketball," Bray said. "And it showed a little bit. Credit Warde for playing hard the whole night and coming back to cut the lead to eight. That made it a basketball game there. It wasn't in our hands until midway through the fourth quarter. They made us work."
With the victory, Trumbull improved to 12-6 overall and 11-6 in the FCIAC. More importantly, the win helped the Eagles cross off another goal from its list.
"It looks like we're in the playoffs, but we're going to get another good workout in and play another tough game against Greenwich on Wednesday," Bray said. "We will see how it all shakes out after Wednesday and take it from there.
Before Fairfield could blink, they were down nearly double-digits. After Rodriguez hit a floater and Brown scored on the early layup, McElroy connected on a baseline three-pointer that banked in off the glass.
With the lead at 7-2, Brown kept the good times rolling with a layup underneath and followed that up with a steal and layup with 5:01 to play in the first to make the score 11-2.
Although the Mustangs cut the lead to 13-8 midway through the quarter, the Eagles exploded once again by going on a 9-3 run at the end of the first. In that stretch, Rodriguez hit the three-pointer. Lyons and Brown hit jumpers and McCullough connected on a easy layup underneath.
It was in the second quarter when the Eagles pulled away, as the long distance shots were finding nothing but the net. McElroy and Rodriguez each hit two three-pointers each and Frank Puglia drained a three-pointer to help Trumbull extend its halftime lead to 43-25.
In addition to the three senior captains, Jason Micalizzi, Michael Miller, Brandon Owen and Puglia were honored as part of Senior Night.
"I couldn't be happier for this night and I am proud of my seniors," Bray said. "It's been an absolute pleasure to coach and they are a great group of student athletes. They all have wonderful families and are all very supportive of our program. I was very happy to see them play well tonight for most of the stretch."