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Trinity Scares an Unbeaten St. Joseph

STAMFORD, Conn. – Trinity Catholic High boys basketball coach Mike Walsh saw a lot of positives in Tuesday’s game against St. Joseph, the top-ranked team in the state. But unfortunately for Walsh and the Crusaders, they did not come away with the most positive development of all.

St. Joseph held off the Crusaders, who rallied from a 15-point deficit to get within two several times in the closing minutes. Timajh Parker scored a game-high 30 points and hit three free throws in the final seconds to hold off Trinity, which trailed by 15 points midway through the third quarter.

“I think after two tough games maybe we didn’t believe in ourselves,’’ Walsh said. “They heard about how St. Joseph is, and they are a very good team. But we’re getting better and better.”

James Jennings added 14 for St. Joseph, which improved to 8-0 overall and 6-0 in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference. Kevin Leumene scored 15 to pace Trinity (5-3, 4-2). Schadrac Casimir and Jason Boswell added 14 each.

With 7-0 center Pascal Chukwu saddled with foul trouble, Trinity seemed dead after falling behind 49-34 with 3:12 left in the third quarter. Chukwu had picked up his fourth foul a minute earlier and did not return until late in the final period.

But Trinity got within 51-41 after three quarters. After a basket by Boswell, a three-point play by Leumene with 6:58 left trimmed the lead to 51-46, and the game was on.

Trinity made it 61-59 and had possession with just more than a minute left but turned over the ball. Parker hit two free throws on the other end, but Trinity had one final answer. Chukwu scored and was fouled with 11.0 seconds left, making it 63-61. He missed the free throw, but the Crusaders could not secure the rebound. Parker hit two free throws with 5.5 seconds left to ice it.

Casimir had nine points in the fourth quarter and Leumene added five as a packed house urged on the Crusaders. Even though it was a loss, the game may be remembered as the one that brought the Crusaders together. After losing to Greenwich and surviving in overtime last week against Stamford, Trinity showed it could be a title contender.

“There’s no question we’re a work in progress,’’ Walsh said. “And we were a shot or two away, or maybe a guy not getting in foul trouble. I was encouraged by what I saw.”

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