Boys Basketball

The Morning After: New Canaan, Trumbull Currently Traveling Different Paths

New Canaan’s Leo Magnus goes after a loose ball. (Mark Conrad)

When the season started a week ago, Ridgefield, New Canaan, Trumbull and Wilton topped the lists of teams to beat.

Wilton has yet to play because it started the preseason on pause because of a coronavirus breakout at the school. Ridgefield, the defending FCIAC champion, has sliced through three opponents.

New Canaan and Trumbull met last night, and the Rams never trailed in a 55-36 win.

Just watching the body language of the players was evidence enough that the Rams were 3-0, the Eagles 0-3 and the programs right now are headed in opposite directions.

“We’re not shooting the ball well,” Trumbull coach Buddy Bray said. “I think the defensive effort has been really good. We have to score. I think defensively, a big, strong physical team like New Canaan has, I thought we showed more heart and a little more fight in the second half than early on. But we have to answer or we’re backpedaling and playing defense all night. We have to start making shots.”

Trumbull’s Sage Gatling goes up for a shot. (Mark Conrad)

The Eagles are not going to be able to change things around if they cannot break 40 points and their leading scorer comes off the bench, as was the case last night.

Trumbull opened with a 43-point loss to Ridgefield, so it is more than just a few hop-steps away from the contenders at this point, but if you are looking for optimism, this is an unusual season and it is going to take two to three weeks for teams to really find their legs.

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In a normal season the Eagles would be panicked about making the FCIAC playoffs, but this winter all schools will qualify. Bray doesn’t have a lot of time to figure out if his team has started in a shooting slump or is a poor shooting team, and what to do if the latter is true.

The Rams did not play consistently well in wins over Fairfield Ludlowe and Greenwich, but they showed their potential for much of the final 24 minutes last night. The ball darted around the court and the player ultimately shooting had a clean look.

There was defensive pressure that ignited a transition game and New Canaan played intelligently with the lead.

“We played well,” New Canaan coach Danny Melzer said. “We have to clean some things up. I think we had some empty possessions late in the third quarter. Not finishing. A lot of these guys are new to that. We’ve got a couple guys with experience but we have a lot of guys without a ton of experience. We’ll learn that as we go along.”