TRUMBULL -- The New Canaan boys basketball team breathed a collective sigh of relief on Wednesday evening as the Rams notched their first win of the season. Playing an inspired fourth quarter and displaying tight ball control throughout, the Rams outlasted the Trumbull Eagles 47-42 at Trumbull High School on Wednesday, Jan. 2.
Wins haven't come easy -- or often -- for the Rams, so to take down a legitimate FCIAC threat like Trumbull may signify a paradigm shift for New Canaan.
"It's a great win," Rams captain Chris DeWaele said. "We knew coming into this game, this was one we had to win, and hopefully this will help us string together a couple more wins."
The victory is the first for New Canaan first-year head coach Mike Evans. With the win, the Rams improve to 1-3 overall, while the Eagles drop to 1-4.
"We got out-hustled," Trumbull coach Buddy Bray said. "New Canaan showed better discipline on their defensive end. We tried to make plays that we shouldn't have, we got away from our rules, and I just thought we could have worked harder."
Fewer turnovers and a balanced offensive effort propelled the Rams to victory. Victims of their own inconsistency in their first three games (New Canaan averaged 27 turnovers per game during that stretch), the Rams managed to give the ball away only 10 times against Trumbull.
"That's the name of the game for us," said Evans, who was beaming after the win. "When we hold the ball and get what we want out of our offense, we're an OK team."
The two teams battled evenly for the first three quarters with neither team building a lead larger than five points. The Eagles owned the first quarter, 11-9, while the Rams fought back en route to a 20-17 advantage at halftime. By the end of the third, the Rams still owned a slim 31-29 lead.
And in the fourth quarter, the Rams kept their foot on the gas.
"We had really good focus in the fourth quarter," said New Canaan captain Andrew Read, who, showing good ball movement and toughness inside, led the scoring for his team with 17 points. "I think that focus really helped us with passing, and we only had 10 turnovers this game which is definitely an improvement. In the fourth quarter we just closed it out."
Trumbull was still within striking distance, trailing just 37-34 with 3:54 remaining in the game, but nothing was falling through the hoop and the frustration quickly led to turnovers. Throughout the final frame, the Rams never relinquished the lead.
As a team, New Canaan went 19-for-31 in free throws, while Trumbull went 9-for-14 from the line.
The Rams also picked up a 51-41 at home against Bassick last Friday and were defeated 53-44 by Danbury on Tuesday to bring their record to 2-4.
NEW CANAAN 47, TRUMBULL 42
New Canaan.... 9 11 11 16 - 47
Tumbull........ 11 6 12 13 -- 42
Records: New Canaan 1-3, Trumbull 1-4