By: Jeremy Leveille
Playing on the road, without one of their best players and against a tough Dover team, Trinity trailed by as many as 9 points, when it was 32-23 with 3:20 to play in the 2nd quarter. Trinity did not look like a championship team up until that point - for the rest of the game though, they did.
Dover fought hard, but for the last 19 minutes of the basketball game Trinity was just the better team. They crashed the offensive boards, hustled to the loose balls, were the more calm team under pressure. And the Green Wave simply could not stop junior wing Carmen Giampetruzzi, who exploded for 31 points (a career-high) and 11 rebounds in the 67-61 win. Trinity is now 15-1 n the season.
"It felt like I could go by my man every time" said Giampetruzzi, who officially tossed his hat in the ring for Division I Player of the Year with this performance. "At first they had bigger guys on me, so I could go by them. Then they put the smaller guys on me and I went down low."
Giampetruzzi was hitting threes, driving baseline, crossing his man over up top and taking it all the way to the rim from there, posting up on the low block - he had his full offensive arsenal working. Earlier in the season some people were saying that he was still shaking off the football rust. Well that is definitely not the case now. Oh yeah, and Giampetruzzi was also 12/13 from the free throw line.
Dover head coach Mike Romps was actually more disappointed with his team's inability to grab defensive rebounds than their inability to stop 'G'.
"The key was second chance points for them" said Romps. "It's been a weakness for awhile. The rotations are there, we just need to finish plays. As weird as it is to say with a team of all seniors, we're still a work in progress."
Mabor Gabbriel (17 points and 12 rebounds), Giampetruzzi, Wenyin Gabriel (6 points and 5 rebounds) Romeo Masuku (4 points and 5 rebounds) were all relentless on the boards. Ryan Otis (9 points) and Brad Rhoades (2 points) also played well for Trinity. They all stepped up in the absence of junior guard Patrick Keefe, who was out with the flu.
"I'm more worried about him (Patrick) than I am about the game right now" said Trinity head coach Dave Keefe (Patrick's father) just prior to tip-off.
During the 1st half it certainly did seem like Trinity just wasn't the same team without Pat Keefe in there. Dover was sharper in the beginning, quicker and they were hitting shots. Bill Carroll (team-high 17 points), Phil Boyatsis (8 points)and Colin Shaughnessy (9 points) were all hitting shots to give Dover the early lead. Grant Faustino (9 points)also made a strong drive to the rim and finish.
The Green Wave led by as many as 7 in the 1st quarter when it was 13-6, and after one quarter of play it was Dover 17 Trinity 12. Then in the 2nd quarter is when Trinity really started to crash the offensive glass. Mabor Gabriel scored 0 points in the 1st quarter, but 11 in the 2nd frame.
Trinity cut the Dover lead to 19-17, but then Josh Cote (8 points) answered with a 3-pointer and then Boyatsis drove inside for 2, pushing the lead back up to 24-17 with 5:15 left in the 1st half. After another three by Cote it was 27-19 Dover. Then the Green Wave continued to execute well, as Boyatsis hit a cutting Faustino with a great pass for a layup. Kam Towle then hit a 3-pointer, and it was 32-23. Dover was hiting on all cylinders and it looked like we were in store for an upset!
But it wasn't meant to be. From that point on it was all Trinity. Mabor Gabriel scored inside, and then on the other end he drew a charge (Trinity drew 6 charges on the game). Dover answered back though, as Boyatsis again made a great pass to a cutter, this time hitting Towle who laid it in.
Then Masuku made a great hustle play, diving on the floor for a loose ball and calling timeout. Giampetruzzi took his man off the dribble, went strong to the rim for an and-1 finish. That cut the Dover lead to 37-34. Those two plays the dive by Masuku and the drive by 'G') signaled the official swing of momentum. Trintiy would not relinquish that momentum for the rest of the game.
Mabor Gabriel and Giampetruzzi continued to dominate into the 3rd quarter, both scoring buckets inside. Dover still had the lead though, and they were fighting hard. Shaughnessy was in foul trouble all game but was very effective on both ends of the floor when he was in there. He drilled a threee off some good ball movement, then drew a charge on the other end on Giampetruzzi. It was a big play, as it would have been an and-1 finish for 'G' if they called a block.
A drive and finish by Rhoades gave Trinity their first lead of the game, 45-44 with 4:30 left in the 3rd quarter. Mabor Gabriel then made a nice up-and-under move along the baseline for 2 more to extend the lead. On the other end Trinity picked up their defensive intensity, and Dover was getting flustered on offense, not exececuting as well as they were earlier.
"We just need to come out with a sennse of urgency" said Coach Keefe. "We didn't do that in the 1st half. It's been a tough week, playing 3 games in a week with 2 of them on the road."
Then 'G' continued to dominate, driving inside for back-to-back hoops to extend the Trinity lead to 51-46. The Pioneers were on a 17-7 run.
"He took over the game, was going to the hoop like a man, he made his free throws" said Coach Keefe. "It was like Cedric Maxwell how he put the team on his back and carried them.
Carroll made a drive and finish to make it 53-50 Trinity early in the 4th. All of a sudden the intensity in the gym really picked up and the place got loud. Again though, Dover couldn't stop Trinity on the boards - Mabor missed a shot inside, but his little brother Wenyin was right there for the put-back.
Shaughnessy and Cote had tough drives and finishes to cutr the THS lead to 55-54. It was anyone's game at that point!
Unfortunately for the Green Wave, that is when they went cold offensively, they had key players foul out, and Giampetruzzi was 10/10 at the foul line in the 4th quarter. All of that resulted in a 10-2 run for the Pioneers.
The effort has been there ever since the Winnacunnet game" explained Coach Romps. "Our best basketball is still ahead of us."
Next up, a HUGE Queen City showdown on Tuesday night between Trinity (15-1) and Manchester Central (also 15-1).