Trinity boys march on, drop Bishop Guertin
NASHUA - Even as his undefeated boys' basketball team beat one opponent after another, Trinity of Manchester coach Dave Keefe said it could be better.
The Pioneers showed what their coach was talking about Tuesday night.
In what could be categorized as an ah-hah moment for a team still trying to fit all the pieces together, Trinity dominated Bishop Guertin, 74-60, to go to 9-0.
"I think this is a game we really came together as a team for three quarters," Keefe said. "I think we turned the corner a little."
Sitting right next to the Trinity bench was a handful of players from the only other undefeated team left in Division I, city rival Central, which had the night off. They had to be impressed with what they saw.
The Pioneers staggered the Cardinals (8-2) with a 15-7 run in the second quarter to open up a lead and delivered the knockout blow in the third quarter by scoring the first 14 points of the quarter to go up 50-30. They led 58-39 before a sloppy fourth quarter.
And if this was the best the Pioneers have played this season, then it is no coincidence that it was the best senior forward Mabor Gabriel has played.
The 6-foot-7 senior was a force on both ends of the floor. He had a game-high 17 rebounds and scored 20 of his game-high 22 points when the game was decided over the middle quarters. His teammates kept looking for him and Gabriel delivered.
"We're going to be as good as Mabor plays," Keefe said. "The ball has to go through him."
Gabriel and junior forward Carmen Giampetruzzi (12 points, 10 rebounds) were too much for the Cardinals, anchoring Trinity's zone defense that neutralized BG's bruising Jeff Lunn (21 points) and dared the Cardinals to beat them from the outside. BG couldn't, going 1-for-12 from long distance in the second and third quarters.
BG coach Jim Migneault said Lunn did his part, but he just didn't have enough help. The absence of junior guard C.J. Boykin (shoulder) didn't help.
"The third quarter was a tough one," Migneault said. "We couldn't hit a shot. We weren't giving the help (to Lunn) that Giampetruzzi and (Pat) Keefe were giving Mabor."
Trinity's ability to score inside with Gabriel and Giampetruzzi was the difference in the first half as the Pioneers went up 36-30 at the intermission.
Giampetruzzi had six in the first quarter, four at the foul line, and Gabriel took over in the second quarter, scoring 11. He scored nine of Trinity's first 12 points in the quarter, part of a 15-7 run that put the Pioneers up 32-24 with 2:31 left in the half. He scored on a follow shot, a strong move in the paint, off a couple trips to the foul line and a nice coast-to-coast drive.
The Cardinals, who got themselves into early foul trouble, stayed close by knocking down four 3-pointers before going cold from long distance as the game went on.