WESTPORT — Prior to his first game coaching the Trinity Catholic girls basketball team, Mike Walsh felt something he not felt in years.
After winning 633 games as the boys coach at Trinity before retiring after last season, Walsh was called into duty as the Crusaders girls coach when Mike Martino stepped down last week.
Walsh was put at ease by Trinity forward Iyanna Lops who told the coach “you got this.”
Lops and the Crusaders were in fact the ones who had it, running away from Staples for a 68-49 win Thursday night.
There was some talk after the game whether the win was No. 634 for Walsh or No. 1?
“This is No. 1,” Walsh said. “I told them before the game that I was more nervous than them and Iyanna (Lops) told me she had my back. And she did. They all did. I really look forward to doing something with these girls. I think we can be pretty successful. I see a lot of things we can do to get better but getting the first one is nice.”
Lops did indeed have Walsh’s back, putting up a triple double with 25 points, 16 rebounds and 10 blocks.
Trinity was in front the whole game, going up by nine after one quarter, never allowing Staples back into the game.
Kyah Nowlin scored 15 for Trinity and Emma Garner put in 10 while Caitlyn Scott beat the Staples press with her ball handling all night, getting Trinity baskets in transition.
Staples coach Paco Fabian said his young team (only one senior starter) is learning as it goes and paying against teams like Trinity can only help in the long run.
“A lot of these girls didn’t play varsity last year and we are going to learn to develop throughout the year,” Fabian said. “We haven’t played a girl as good as Lops all year and she is a phenomenal player. That team is very good and we couldn’t stop them. We learned some things tonight.”
Elle Fair scored 11 for Staples with Abby Carter leading the way with 12 points.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Iyanna Lops, Trinity. Lops did it all scoring 25 points, collecting 16 rebounds and blocking 10 shots for the triple double.
“This was (Walsh’s) first girls basketball game and I told him ‘you got this,’” Lops said. “We knew we had an advantage height-wise and we dominated around the basket. When we are all playing like we did tonight we are very dangerous. It makes it easier to play and open ups options. When the other team has to focus on other players than just me, it makes us a much better team.”
TRINITY CATHOLIC 68 STAPLES 49
TRINITY (6-1, 4-1 FCIAC)
Emma Garner 4 2-4 10; Kyah Nowlin 7 3-4 15; Caitlyn Scott 2 2-4 6; Iyanna Lops 10 4-4 25; Kiera Fenske 3 0-0 7; Theresa Lupinacci 0 0-0 0; Sarah Jablonsky 1 0-0 2. Totals: 27 11-17 68
STAPLES (5-3, 3-2 FCIAC)
Abby Carter 5 2-2 12; Marisa Shorrock 1 1-1 3; Nicole Holmes 1 6-8 8; Alva Nordin 2 0-0 4; Elle Fair 4 1-2 11; Caroline DeLaurentis 1 0-0 2; Sydelle Bernstein 0 0-0 0; Jen Westphal 1 1-1 3; Marley Lopez 2 0-0 4; Maddie Phelps 1 0-0 2. Totals: 18 11-14 49
TRINITY 18 16 14 20—68
STAPLES 11 13 13 12—49
3-point field goals: TC—Lops, Fenske; S—Fair 2
Fouled out: None