MANCHESTER — There are poor shooting nights, and then there's what the Trinity of Manchester boys' basketball team experienced in the second half of Friday night's matchup with Bishop Guertin of Nashua.
The Pioneers didn't score in the third quarter and were held to three field goals in the second half, but still managed to beat the Cardinals 59-54.
Trinity didn't score after halftime until Wenyen Gabriel made a free throw that broke a 43-43 tie with 6:16 to play. Trinity's first second-half field goal came on a Gabriel put-back with 2:26 to play.
"Very thankful that we got out of here with a win tonight," Trinity coach Dave Keefe said. "Give credit to BG. They got back in the game. We just stopped sharing the basketball and they stepped it up defensively.
"I think that's the longest drought I can remember from a team I was coaching. To go eight or 10 minutes without scoring, especially with the talented kids we have — it's disappointing, but it's a win."
The victory raised Trinity's record to 10-1. The Pioneers won despite the fact that they missed eight free throws in the final quarter.
Junior forward Kyle Gavin scored a team-high 12 for BG, which dropped to 10-2.
BG trailed 43-31 at halftime, but pulled even by outscoring Trinity 12-0 in the third. BG's effort on defense in that quarter seemed to take its toll at the offensive end in the fourth, when the Cardinals were held to 11 points.
"That's probably a really good assessment, because it took a lot out of us to get to where we got," BG coach Jim Mignault said. "We were pushing hard on that defensive end, because they're a very good offensive team.
"I'm happy my kids competed. We'll put this one behind us and go play Merrimack on Tuesday."
Gabriel, a 6-foot-7 center, led all scorers (18 points) and rebounders (15). Trinity received 14 points from forward Carmen Giampetruzzi and 13 from guard Ryan Otis, who made four 3-pointers in the first half.
"It seemed like we let off the gas a little there, and got too comfortable," Otis said. "We got the win. That's all that matters."
The Cardinals tied the game, 43-43, on a basket by sophomore point guard Jack Zimmerman with 2:01 left in the third quarter. The score went unchanged for nearly four minutes, until the first of two Gabriel free throws began an 8-2 Trinity run that gave the Pioneers the lead for good.
"Hopefully they learned a pretty good lesson tonight," Keefe said. "Up big or down big at halftime, you got 16 minutes left, and you have to get after it."