Exeter battled, and gave Trinity a tough game. But in the end the Pioneers were just too much to handle down the stretch. Behind 24 points and 14 rebounds from junior forward Wenyin Gabriel (even more impressive since he sat the majority of the 3rd quarter with 3 fouls) and 19 points and 9 boards from senior Carmen Giampetruzzi, Trinity went on the road and defeated Exeter 70-58 on Saturday night.
"Good things happen when the ball is in Carmen's hands" said Trinity head coach Dave Keefe. "It was nice to see his shot flowing again. Wenyin, Pat Keefe and Luke Testa all stepped up for us, and Connor Walsh had some tough rebounds. Exeter will be just fine, though. They're a blue collar team, they really went hard after the loose balls. They're a top 4 team."
Exeter hung right there with Trinity for most of the way. It was all tied up 37-37 late in the 3rd quarter. But late in the 3rd and into the 4th quarter the Pioneers went on a 15-4 run, taking a commanding 59-46 lead with 5:00 left in the game. That run turned out to be the difference, as Trinity improves to 2-0 on the season (4-1 including the QCIBT), while Exeter falls to 1-1 in Division I play (3-2 including the QCIBT).
"We knew Max Medley was in foul trouble, so we looked inside first and that opened up the 3" said Giampetruzzi, who attacked the paint along with Gabriel and also hit a pair of clutch threes. "It feels good to shake off the football rust. We also started switching better on defense and taking smarter shots."
The first quarter was a tight, back and forth battle. Keefe hit a three from the corner on the game's first possession. Then Zach Holler (14 points) showed toughness and grit by drawing a charge on Gabriel. Matt Vigars (14 points) drove to the rim and made a great dish to Medley (15 points) for a layup, then on the next time down the floor Vigars made a strong take. Holler hit a tough leaner near the foul line, as the Blue Hawks matched Trinity shot for shot early on.
Then on a baseline out of bounds play Testa cut to the rim, caught the ball and finished for an and-1. hat put Trinity back up 9-8. Giampetruzzi then made a strong drive and finish inside - you can't let him go left!
"We had too many lapses defensively for us to beat a good team" said Exeter head coach Jeff Holmes. "They got the better of us on the defensive glass."
It was 13-10 Trinity after 1, and the 6-foot-6 forward Medley started the 2nd quarter with a good take to the bucket from the high post. Ryan Otis answered back with a 3-pointer from the corner to start a run for Trinity. Gabriel kept the run going by drilling a 3 of his own, then went hard after an offensive rebound and put-back. Brad Rhoades hit a pull-up jumper from 18 feet to complete the run, as the Pioneers opened up a 24-12 lead.
Exeter called timeout and was able to regroup and go on a 7-0 run of their own to get back in it. Vigars made a strong drive and and-1 finish, Jordan Dickerson (12 points) slashed to the rim for 2 and the run was capped by a Medley layup. It was now 24-17 Trinity with 2:10 left in the 1st half. Ben Swett hit a 3 for Exeter, and it was 28-22 Pioneers at the half.
The 3rd quarter was dead even, with both teams scoring 20 points each. Dickerson hit a 3 in the 3rd quarter as Exeter went up 31-30 with 5:44 left in the 3rd. Trinity answered, as Giampetruzzi knifed his way to the rim for 2, then Rhoades hit a 3 to put the Pioneers back up 35-31. Exeter kept battling, crashing the boards after a missed shot by Holler. Medley grabbed the rebound and put it back in to tie the game up 35-35 with 3:25 left in the 3rd. Vigars slashed to the rim and finished and it was again tied up 37-37.
That is when Trinity started to take over. Giampetruzzi hit a 3-pointer, followed by a layup by Walsh on the break to put Trinity up 42-37. Vigars answered back with another and-1 finish for Exeter and it was 44-42 Trinity. Testa made a layup off a good dish by Keefe, then Keefe made a good move inside for 2 as Trinity closed out the quarter on a high note, taking a 48-42 lead into the 4th.
Gabriel sat most of the 3rd quarter with 3 fouls, but he went back in to start the 4th and went on a tear. He made a strong put-back, but then Exeter was hanging tough as Vigars made a terrific extra pass to Medley for a layup. But it was too much Gabriel and Giampetruzzi down the stretch. Gabriel again showed great effort on the offensive boards, with another put-back. Then Giampetruzzi connected on a HUGE 3-pointer to complete the 15-4 run by Trinity, who now had a 59-46 lead with 5:00 left.
Exeter was still fighting hard to stay in it, as Dickerson hit a 3 from the top of the key. It was 64-55 THS with 1:43 left. Gabriel again crashed the offensive boards, tipping in his own miss and again showing great effort and determination. The Pioneers hung on from there for the 70-58 win.