STAMFORD, Conn. – Teamwork is paying a big dividend this season for the Trinity Catholic High School Crusaders.
“We don’t have five great basketball players,’’ coach Mike Walsh said after the team’s 67-54 win over Danbury Friday. “But we have kids who want to play together. Are we the talented team that we’ve been in the past? No. But they like to play together. It makes me happy to coach them.”
The Crusaders have a bonafide star in senior guard Schadrac Casimir, who has probably been the best player in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference this season. Senior forward Brandon Wheeler has improved dramatically, having scored 17 points in the win over Danbury.
Junior guard Tremaine Frasier, who also scored 17 against Danbury, is another scoring option. And senior Dan O’Leary and junior Neno Merritt also started against the Hatters. Walsh also has some contributors coming off the bench, including a physical inside presence with Sean Brown.
“I think our problems are on the defensive end,’’ Walsh said. “Danbury got a lot of points out of transition. We have to work harder at getting back. The other thing is we have to rebound. I think we’ll get better and better. If they play hard, anything can happen.”
The Crusaders, 9-1 overall and 7-1 in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference, are ranked seventh in the state in the latest poll by the New Haven Register. Their only loss is an 87-85 overtime defeat on the road at St. Joseph.
The Crusaders had a couple of close calls early, winning by two over Bridgeport Central and in overtime against Greenwich. They found their stride during a holiday tournament when they beat two teams from New York.
Some thought the Crusaders might be headed for a down year after two of last year’s starters transferred and Kevin Lemeune graduated. But the Crusaders, who have played in eight state title games and won four crowns since 2000, appear ready to make another deep post-season run.
“We have enough kids who are willing to do what they have to do,’’ Walsh said. “If they put it all together, they can be tough to beat.”