By: Tuesday and Friday
Carmen Giampetruzzi hit a 3 pointer with 2:30 left in the game to give the Pioneers a 42 - 40 lead and start an 11 - 0 game ending run for the Pioneers as they defeated Alvirne 50 - 40.
The first half was played as if two farm tractors were crashing into each other in a cornfield in New Hampshire. With so much missed shots, good defense, turnovers, and sloppy basketball that made one word come to mind - UGLY. It was 11 - 7 in favor of Alvirne after the first period. The big 3 of Beaulieu, Dunn and Livingston combined for the Bronco first period points. Mabor Gabriel got into foul trouble and had to sit for the majority of the 1st half and went scoreless.
The second period was more of the same for both teams with defense and ugly basketball becoming the norm. Trinity received balance scoring in the 2nd period if you can call 4 players combining for 11 points balanced scoring. The two front lines held each other to a draw as each front line scored a combined 2 points. There was no shortage of ferocity on rebounds and blocked shots from either teams front lines, but there was a shortage of points.
The matchup I looked forward to seeing in this game was senior Sean Dunn against freshman Ian Sistare. Dunn has had a hot start to the season and is one of the leading scorers in Division 1. This matchup was a tale of two cities in the 3rd period. In the first half of the period Sistare got the best of Dunn by hitting a 3 and then making the defensive play of the game. Alvirne had a 2 on 1 break with Beaulieu and Dunn. Beaulieu got the defender to commit and then made a perfect pass to Dunn who had a wide open layup....Until Sistare came out of no where to make a tremendous block. The Trinity student body reminded the Broncos what grade Sistare is in with a chant of, "He's a freshman!!!" Dunn regrouped and answered nicely in the 2nd half of the 3rd period with a bucket and a 3 pointer. This seemed to be what the Broncos needed until Pat Keefe a/ka NYC taxi driver weaved his lithe body through some Bronco muscle for a couple of slash drives which re-energized the Pioneers and their faithful. Trinity had a 33 - 30 lead at the end of the 3rd.
When I see Pat Keefe start to make his drives against pressure and numbers even I look at the situation and say, "How's he going to get this taxi cab through that snarling traffic?" He gets by his defender and then plots a strategy around some paint defenders and then uses his athletic hops to finish beautifully off the glass. Keefe is a perfect slash scoring compliment to the Pioneer trees and the sharp shooters. Keefe along with Giampetruzzi were the only 2 Pioneers who scored in all 4 quarters of tonight's game. With points being at a minimum this was key. Tony Beaulieu was the only Bronco to score in every quarter tonight.
Tony Beaulieu paced the Broncos with 16 points. If you don't know about this Bronco senior then you should. He plays the game hard and clean. He is one of the best finishers in D1 basketball when he drives to the hoop. His motor is always running and I would venture to say he is the leader of the Broncos. He is solid on defense. He is solid in passing. He is solid with his sportsmanship. Tony Beaulieu is well on his way to making my all state teams.
The teams traded baskets in the 4th period. There was finally some flow to the game. The first half of the 4th quarter had a "UNH playoff game" feel to it. Tyler Livingston hit a basket to tie the game at 37. Gabriel finished down low to give the Pioneers a 39 - 37 lead. A Britton Doyle FT cut the Pioneer lead to 39 - 38. Tony Beaulieu hit a bucket to give Alvirne their last lead at 40 - 39 with just under 3 minutes left in the game. From this point on the Pioneers closed out the game with an 11 - 0 run. Giampetruzzi hit a huge 3 to give the Pioneers a 42 - 40 lead.
Ian Sistare stepped to the line for a huge 1 and 1 with 1:15 left in the game. The Bronco student section chanted, "Freshman!! Freshman!!", to try and take the Pioneer point guard off his rhythm. He calmly sank the first freebie to which the Pioneer student section chanted back, "Freshman!! Freshman!!." If somebody in the gym didn't know Sistare was a freshman before tonight, they do now. Trinity canned some more FTs in the last minute to give themselves a cushion and Alvirne shot blanks at their offensive end.
With the season now one third completed Trinity is 5 - 1 while Alvirne is 4 - 2. Even though it was an ugly game tonight I saw something in both teams that does make me think they will be in the final Four at UNH in March. Sistare held his own against Sean Dunn by scoring 8 and holding Dunn to 7. Giampetruzzi was solid from start to finish with 14 points. Beaulieu had a very impressive game and finished with 16 points. Trinity will play West in their next game on Jan. 20th. Alvirne after playing mostly the iron of D1 in their first 6 games will play Timberlane and Keene in their next 2 contests.