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January 31. 2014 10:38PM

NHIAA Boys' Basketball: Trinity topples Memorial

MANCHESTER — The Manchester Memorial boys’ basketball team had something to prove, and it did so for the first eight minutes in front of a giddy home crowd. Trinity had something to preserve, and it did that, convincingly, for the last 24.

A first-quarter scoring frenzy by Trevon Maughn and his Memorial teammates led to a 30-20 lead, but that was quickly snuffed out by the bigger, stronger defending champion Pioneers in an 83-66 cross-town victory.

Memorial (4-5) proved it can put a scare into anyone.

Trinity (9-1) preserved its reputation as a Division I elite and its No. 2 position.

“They came out and kind of smacked us in the face to start off,” said Trinity’s Carmen Giampetruzzi (29 points, 14 rebounds). “We figured we’d better step up or it was going to be a long night.”

Most of the early smacking was done by Maughn, who made five of his first six shots, from all sorts of absurd angles and distances, for 15 first-quarter points.

One was a 4-point play when he was fouled while draining a shot from six feet from behind the 3-point line. Another was a fadeaway turnaround 18-footer after recovering a loose ball near the top of the key. Others were just your garden variety 25-foot threes.

“He was on fire,” said Trinity guard Brad Rhoades (nine points, seven rebounds, five assists). “He was tremendous, but we figured he could only go off for so long.”

It all got turned back around quickly in the second quarter, as the Pioneers began forcing the issue with full-court man-to-man and went on a 14-3 run in the first 2:36. Seven of those 14 came from Wenyin Gabriel, who finished with 18 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks and generally teamed with Giampetruzzi to dominate the interior.

“They’re just bigger and stronger than us, and their strength got to us in the second and third quarters,” said Memorial coach Jack Quirk. “We got a little tired and we settled offensively.”

The 27-11 second quarter turned what had been a 10-point Trinity deficit into a six-point lead, and the Pioneers extended that throughout the third, after which the advantage was 71-55. It never got closer than 11 in the fourth.

Maughn finished with 28 points (including seven 3-pointers), while Kabongo Ngalakulondi added 13 and Malo Roumraj 11.

“We’re improving,” said Quirk, pointing to the fact that Trinity had beaten his Crusaders by 31 points in this year’s Queen City Invitational Basketball Tournament. “We just have to find more ways to score than we’re doing right now.”

Indeed, Memorial entered the game as something of a Division I enigma, with arguably a better body of work than its 4-4 record would indicate. Its most recent three losses, after all, had been by a total of four points, and the Crusaders had won three of their last four.

“They proved they can play with anyone tonight,” Giampetruzzi said. “You can’t let down against them.”

There’s no debating the Trinity resume, on the other hand. The defending Division I champion Pioneers entered 8-1, with the only blemish to top dog Manchester Central. The entire starting lineup is battle tested, and it showed in a systematic comeback in a hostile environment Friday night.

Senior point guard Ryan Otis had 11 assists to go with his seven points.

“We like to run teams, but they ran us for a while tonight,” Rhoades said. “That’s pretty much our style of game, though, and in the end, they got tired and we didn’t.”


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