When covering a game, the writer may draw a line down the middle of his notepad. On the right is where the scoring is kept \u2014 where stars are born. On the left is for defensive statistics \u2014 where games are ultimately decided. St. Joseph had enough players filling up both sides of the ledger when the Cadets handed Trinity Catholic a 66-48 defeat on the Vito Montelli Court in Trumbull on Friday night. \u201cWe are not tall, so we have to work hard to rebound,\u201d St. Joseph coach Kevin Wielk said. \u201cThey had big guys, but tonight it came down to technique, effort, and getting after it.\u201d The Cadets took a 37-31 lead into the third quarter. Akim Joseph\u2019s basket for Trinity made it a two-point game two minutes into the period. That\u2019s when St. Joe\u2019s ramped up its defensive stance. Six empty Crusader possessions later, the Cadets had a 10-point advantage. Trinity scored two late hoops to make it 49-41. Could St. Joseph replicate that ability to hold Trinity to one shot per trip in the final eight minutes? \u201cI couldn\u2019t believe it when I looked up and saw we held them to seventeen points in the second half,\u201d said St. Joe\u2019s Stephen Paolini, after his team won the final frame 17-7. \u201cWe work hard to play together, get the ball to the open man and never give up on a play.\u201d Paolini finished with 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. A senior co-captain, Paolini had consecutive takeaways that led his run-out basket and an assist on Paul Fabbri\u2019s breakaway bucket. That led a stretch of eight trips down court that saw the Cadets score. Tyler DuBose plucked three defensive rebounds, and Jared Grindrod helped stop penetration by the Crusaders. Fabbri made five free throws, assisted on a hoop by Brendan Kade, and Kyren Jones hit a brace of freebies to make it a 61-43 game with six minutes remaining. The first half saw the FCIAC rivals forge ties on six occasions. Paolini\u2019s double-pump basket drew a foul, and his three-point play deadlocked the game at 27. Trinity Catholic never led again. Paolini drained a step-back 3-pointer. Jason James then assisted on two hoops, a basket on the block by Jones and a 3-pointer by Fabbri. Paolini\u2019s jumper from 5-feet out beat the clock and gave St. Joe\u2019s its 37-31 lead at the break. Paolini scored eight points in the opening period and Kade had five. Dan Tobin dished out back-to-back assists and Paolini\u2019s cross-over dribble led to a scoop basket in traffic. Trinity\u2019s Rahsen Fisher scored six in the stanza, including a breakaway basket at the five-second mark for the Crusaders\u2019 first lead at 18-17. \u201cWhat I like about the team is how they are playing together top to bottom,\u201d Wielk said. \u201cWe need to practice hard everyday, because they are learning a new system. I always say that practices should be harder than a game. These guys love to compete.\u201d Wielk is in his first season as head coach at St. Joseph. A former Cadet player and a 1995 graduate, Wielk honed his skills the past eight seasons as the assistant coach to Mitch Oliver at Albertus Magnus College. During that time, the Falcons won seven Great Northeast Athletic Conference championships and earned six trips to the NCAA Division III tournament. They won at least 20 games every season. St. Joseph will visit visit Bridgeport Central on Thursday, Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. Trinity will be home to Staples High on Jan. 3 with first tip at 7. PLAYER OF THE GAME Stephen Paolini finished with 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. He had a hand in it every time the Cadets made a run on the Crusaders. QUOTABLE \u201cEnergy is everything,\u201d Paolini said. \u201cWe need to play with energy every minute of every game. Rebounding is very important for us. Tonight we had everyone on the court fighting on the boards.\u201d ST. JOSEPH 66, TRINITY CATHOLIC 48 Trinity Catholic 20 11 10 7 - 48 Saint Joseph \u00a0\u00a0\u00a017 20 12 16 - 66 Trinity Andrew St. Louis 1 0-0 2, Xavier Ruellano 1 1-2 3, Akim Joseph 8 1-2 17, Ras Fisher 6 1-2 13, Anthony Anderson 3 0-2 7, Matt Hennessey 2 0-0 4, Brian Ceballos 0 0-0 0, Tahj Morgan 0 0-0 0, Brandon Lewis 1 0-2 2 Totals: 22 3-10 48 St. Joseph Steve Paolini 9 2-3 22, Paul Fabbri 3 6-7 14, Brendan Kade 3 0-0 7, Jared Grinrod 1 0-0 2, Dan Tobin 2 0-0 4, Jason James 4 0-0 8, Glenn Manigault 0 2-2 2, Tyler Dubose 1 0-0 2, Kyren Jones 1 2-5 4, Hadyn Gorley 0 0-0 0, Brian Robertson 0 0-0 0, Anthony Rainey 0 0-0 0. Totals: \u00a024 12-17 66 3-pointers: T-Anderson; SJ-Paolini 2, Fabbri 2, Kade.