STAMFORD — They can strike suddenly and in mercurial fashion like the Kansas City Chiefs.
When the Trinity Catholic boys basketball team plays at pace, it can electrify a crowd.
And when the Crusaders hit their FCIAC opponents with these lightning runs, the final result is usually victory.
Trinity Catholic rolled to its fifth straight triumph Monday night as its second-half surge conquered Trumbull, 70-50 before an appreciate fanbase at historic Walsh Court.
“We played well in spurts. But there are still things to cleanup,” Trinity Catholic coach Brian Kriftcher said. “But we keep getting better.”
Indeed. Trinity Catholic improved to 9-5 overall but more importantly 8-2 in the FCIAC East. The Crusaders are still chasing Ridgefield (9-1), St. Joseph (9-1) and Warde (8-1) in the division.
Trinity Catholic, No. 14 in the Division I state rankings, travels to battle Warde Thursday night at 7 p.m.
The Crusaders, who have six contests left in the regular season, have now won four straight since senior guard Malcolm Newman, a transfer from Iona Prep in Westchester County, became eligible.
Newman was once again instrumental Monday night. He finished with a game-high 20 points, spent time dribbling through and passing over Trumbull’s pressure and zone defenses.
The 6-foot-2 Newman also took on the defensive challenge of battling the drives of Trumbull senior center/point guard Quentar Taylor.
“Taylor has always been crafty and his size and bulk make him a handful to deal with. He creates mismatches,” Kriftcher said. “Malcolm (Newman) battled Quentar, who can manhandle you if he gets a head of steam.”
Leading 12-10 after one quarter and 26-18 at halftime, Trinity Catholic began to force turnovers and create fast breaks.
From 35-32 with 2:39 left in the third quarter, the Crusaders went on a 9-0 surge for 44-32 at the 25 second mark.
Trinity Catholic opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run for 53-39 with 5:09 to go. Trumbull got as close as 59-50 before Trinity Catholic scored the contest’s last 11 points.
For Trumbull (8-5, 5-4), Andrew Cutter had 16 points in the paint while Taylor finished with 10 points.
“We had a good plan. But the addition of Newman at point guard makes a huge difference for Trinity Catholic,” Trumbull coach Buddy Bray said. “He was solid ball handling against our pressure.”
Trinity Catholic had balance in its scoring. Rahsen Fisher had 17 points followed by Andrew Saint-Louis (15 points, pair of 3-pointers) and 6-foot-8 Rassoul Abakan (14 points along with six blocks).
“Rassoul was outstanding around the basket,” Kriftcher said. “We’re talented, but far from unbeatable. The idea now is to try to compete for the full 32 minutes.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Malcolm Newman, Trinity Catholic. The senior guard collected a game-high 20 points, ballhandled against Trumbull’s pressure and 2-3 matchup zone and defended Trumbull center Quentar Taylor much of the night.
“Trinity Catholic has a lot of weapons. They can hit you with runs when they get in transition,” said Trumbull coach Buddy Bray. “We shot 2-for-15 on 3-pointers. We need to make more there. We were 2-for-5 on free throws but missed the front end of some one-and-ones when we needed points. We played hard. But Trinity Catholic is a good team.”