STAMFORD — Contavio Dutreil and Dimitry Moise arrived together at Trinity Catholic from Haiti three years ago, a pair of promising basketball players who bonded together to acclimate themselves to a new school, a new culture and, ultimately, a wondrous adventure.
Their paths have been a parallel since, so it was fitting that, in a rare feat with no immediate precedent that comes to mind, the two friends reached the 1,000-point mark in the same game, literally 90 seconds apart in playing time in the first quarter tonight against Trumbull.
Of greater consequence was a much more familiar pattern: Dutreil and Moise taking over late with the score close to carry the Crusaders to victory.
Dutreil scored 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and Moise made three free throws in the closing seconds as Trinity used a 14-4 run to pull away for a 68-63 win.
“I thought Trumbull played really, really well,” Trinity coach Mike Walsh said. “They made us work our tail off to win this game. You can see why Trumbull has done so well in the league up to now.”
The Crusaders (13-4, 12-2 FCIAC) remained a half game behind, but tied in the loss column, with Danbury for second place. They are both a game behind Ridgefield, which has a tiebreaker over both schools, in the race for the top seed.
The Crusaders’ defense was faulty in spurts, and they were outhustled in others, but ultimately they tapped their experience against an opponent without a senior to rebound after their nine-game winning streak was ended Monday night by Bridgeport Central.
And it was two calming influences that led the way.
“We’ve got to do that at the end of the game,” Dutreil said. “Especially on our day. We have to take care of that.”
Of reaching the same milestone jointly, Dutreil added, “It’s super cool. We’re from the same country, we’ve been together since we got here. We are on the same journey.”
The Eagles (13-5, 9-5) dipped into ninth place. The top eight teams qualify for the league tournament, and they finish with Danbury and Central, both legitimate championship contenders.
Trumbull got an outstanding performance from Timmond Williams, who finished with 37 points, scoring from all spots on the court. Chris Brown added 12. A strong effort came unrewarded when the Eagles’ poise dissipated down the stretch.
“A little bit of our inexperience showed at the end,” Trumbull coach Buddy Bray said. “We threw the ball away a couple of times, really kind of unforced. We threw the ball over the top and had a couple of untimely turnovers. Some of that will come as we keep playing together and next year as seniors. You can’t fault the kids. They played their hearts out. I’m proud of the way we played.”
It was a rebound of sorts as well for the Eagles, who lost to Norwalk by a surprising 26 points.
“We came out battling the flu bug a little bit and a couple of quick fouls,” Bray said. “No excuses. Norwalk really outplayed us. I give them all the credit. You get off to a slow start on the road and it kind of snowballs, and it did. We weren’t ready to play that night and we said lets get a good practice in, put some changes in our defense and I thought the kids played hard tonight.”
Moise led the Crusaders with 23 points, while Stephon McGill and Rasheed Constant added 11 apiece.
“We were able to turn them over a couple times by up-tempoing the game, which we probably should have done earlier,” Walsh said. “I thought we could play an aggressive man to man, which didn’t work out that well. (Williams) is a tough kid to defend because he can go to the basket, shoot the 3 and (Brown) is a heck of a player. They’re going to be awfully tough next year and Buddy has done a good job with them this year.”
Dutreil and Moise also share a competitive spirit, which is why the two argued in the closing seconds. Moise took a shot when Dutreil thought the Crusaders should be running out the clock.
“We have to help each other,” Dutreil said. “It was a tough matchup. That’s why we were talking.”