It was March madness and sadness on the same evening Thursday, as the Trinity Catholic Crusaders staged a dramatic rally to earn a berth in the state boys basketball finals, and the Wilton Warriors had their dream season come to a close.
Trinity trailed Waterbury Career Academy by 13 points after the third quarter, but caught fire in the fourth and won, 67-60, in the CIAC Class S semifinals at Danbury High School. The Crusaders outscored WCA, 31-11, in the final frame.
No. 6 Trinity Catholic (18-6) will now face No. 1 Westbrook (22-2) in the Class S final at 12:30 p.m., Saturday, March 18, at Mohegan Sun Arena. Westbrook was an 80-51 winner over Aerospace in Thursday’s other semifinal.
“We never doubted we could come back,” Trinity senior guard Pete Galgano told Scott Ericson of the Stamford Advocate. “Nobody wanted it more than us and we had to do anything to get back in the game. We knew we had 11 minutes left and we had to do whatever it took to get back in the game.”
No. 23 WCA led Trinity Catholic, 30-27, at halftime of their semifinal game, and that hole was even deeper for the Crusaders after the third quarter, when they were outscored 19-9.
Trinity, however, answered the bell in the fourth quarter and raced past WCA to get the win and punch their ticket to the Class S final.
In the Class L semis, No. 2 Notre Dame-Fairfield used a 30-16 second quarter to gain a 16-point halftime lead and rolled to an 81-61 win over Wilton at Fairfield-Warde High School.
The Warriors finished a fantastic campaign with a record of 20-7, which included their first-ever berth in the FCIAC championship game.
Drew Connolly had a huge night for Wilton, netting a game-high 27 points, while Matt Kronenberg scored 23.
For NDFF (22-2), Tyler Bourne and Josh Reaves each scored 17.
“I turned to Matt (Kronenberg) and we both agreed that we weren’t just going let them win without us putting up a fight.” Connolly told the Wilton Bulletin. “We kept fighting to the end. That’s the only way this team knows how to play, but we just ran out of steam tonight. The loss stings right now, but maybe in a month we’ll be able to look back and see how much we accomplished as a team.”
Some great story links
Trinity’s Road to the Class S Final
First Round: Trinity Catholic 86, Somers 48
Second Round: Trinity Catholic 83, Old Saybrook 69
Quarterfinals: Trinity Catholic 66, SMSA 54
Semifinals: Trinity Catholic 67, WCA 60
Final: Trinity Catholic vs. Westbrook, 12:30 p.m., Sat., March 18, at Mohegan Sun
Wilton’s Road to the Class L Semifinals
First Round: Wilton 73, Woodstock Academy 35
Second Round: Wilton 64, Newington 57
Quarterfinals: Wilton 65, Crosby 61
Semifinals: Notre Dame-Fairfield 81, Wilton 61