STAMFORD — The Stamford High School boys basketball team was tired of hearing all the talk.
The Black Knights decided to walk the walk Thursday and forged a 62-56 road win over Trinity Catholic High School before a emotional packed house at Walsh Court.
On a day where Stamford earned a bushelful of benefits, the most important prize was the Black Knights taking home the Stamford City Boys Basketball Championship for the first time in three years.
“We won the city title when I was a freshman,” Stamford point guard Josh Thervil said. “It means a lot more as a senior.”
“I had heard so much talk ‘You left to go to the wrong school,’” said Stamford senior guard Rasheed Constant, who transferred from Trinity Catholic to Stamford this season. “It means the world to me to take home the city title with my new team.”
MORE BENEFITS FOR STAMFORD
Thursday’s victory meant Stamford (13-7 overall, 10-6 FCIAC) closed out the regular season with nine wins in its last 11 league contests.
It means Stamford will be either the No. 7 or No. 6 seed (depending on if St. Joseph wins or loses Thursday night) for the FCIAC boys basketball playoffs that tip off with Saturday’s quarterfinals.
“We were 1-4 in league when we lost to McMahon (on Jan. 14). And we were wondering what our future might be,” Stamford coach Zach Smith said. “But we worked at it day-by-day and step-by-step. We came together and got it done.”
“Improving our defense got us to the FCIAC playoffs,” Constant said. “Our chemistry got better as our focus got better. If we each do our job, the group will be fine.”
The triumph also appears to secure the No. 9 ranking in Division II for the upcoming state tournament.
THE PATH TO VICTORY
Stamford led 17-9 after one period, 24-9 early in the second quarter, 32-18 at halftime, 49-36 after three periods and 54-43 with 5:14 to play.
Trinity Catholic used its press and its height edge on the boards to produce an 11-1 surge to trail 55-54 with 2:11 to go.
But Stamford ran off clock and senior Tyheim Burgess nailed a 3-pointer at 1:26 for 58-54. In the bonus, SHS made four free throws to ice the win. Stamford was 12 of 24 from the line.
Jay Jaudon paced Stamford with a game-high 20 points followed by Constant (19) and Thervil (12 points, six assists).
“Early in the season we might have lost this game. Burgess hit a monster 3-pointer,” Smith said. “We gutted it out. Ran just enough time off the clock down the stretch. And made enough crucial free throws. So proud that these kids won the city title and get ready for the FCIAC playoffs.”
FAMILIAR SCENE FOR TRINITY
For Trinity Catholic (8-12, 6-10 FCIAC), the Senior Day loss was the Crusaders’ eighth defeat in their last 10 contests. They’ve had five losses by four points or less since Jan. 22.
Akim Joseph paced Trinity Catholic with 15 points while Mike Mohen —one of four TC seniors—added 11 points.
Trinity Catholic is No. 20 in Division I and may be looking at a road game against Fairfield Prep in the state tournament.
“We just have to stop doing the same things and expect a different result,” Trinity Catholic coach Brian Kriftcher said. “We can’t just say we’re a young squad all season long. We can’t rely simply on athleticism. We need to be more disciplined on the court. Our movie trailer of highlights looks good. But our entire movie doesn’t.”
STAMFORD 62, TRINITY CATHOLIC 56
STAMFORD (13-7, 10-6 FCIAC)
Josh Thervil 4 4-7 12 Jay Jaudon 7 5-9 20 Jaden Bell 0 0-0 0 Danny Simms 2 0-2 4 Rasheed Constant 8 2-4 19 Tyheim Burgess 2 1-2 7 Jose Oliva 0 0-0 0 Jalen Lindsay 0 0-0 0 Nishawn Tolliver 0 0-0 0 Kaleb Souffrant 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 12-24 62.
TRINITY CATHOLIC (8-12, 6-10 FCIAC)
Akim Joseph 7 1-3 15 Rahsen Fisher 2 1-2 6 Anthony Anderson 1 3-4 5 Andrew St. Louis 0 0-0 0 Brandon Louis 2 0-2 6 Xavier Ruillano 4 1-1 9 Abdoul Abakar 2 0-0 4 La’Caiye Compere 0 0-0 0 Tahj Morgan 0 0-0 0 Mike Mohen 5 1-1 11. Totals: 23 7-13 56.
STAMFORD 17 15 17 13—62
TRINITY CATHOLIC 9 9 18 20—56
3-Pointers: S—Jaudon, Constant, Burgess 2. TC—Fisher. B. Louis 2.