STAMFORD -- Trinity Catholic boys basketball coach Mike Walsh has privately wondered all season what would happen if one of his so-called Big 3 got into foul trouble.
On Wednesday night, Walsh found out.
With Tremaine Fraiser forced to the bench with four fouls for most of the final quarter before eventually fouling out, Schadrac Casimir put on a show. Casimir made three 3-point shots during one span of less than two minutes -- the third, fittingly, with 3:33 left on the clock -- and carried the Vikings to an impressive 62-46 win over a strong Westhill team at the J. Walter Kennedy Complex.
Trinity captured the Stamford city title after losing to Westhill the previous two years.
Casimir, held to 4 points over the first 14 minutes against Westhill's box-and-one, finished with a game-high 26 points, doing most of his damage after the Vikings were forced to go to a straight man-to-man defense.
"They switched and I just found openings," said Casimir, who was serenaded with chants of "M-V-P" by the Trinity fans. "The first time was when I hit my first 3. I had to be aggressive. When I saw the switch my eyes lit up like a rabbit."
Walsh was effusive when discussing his star guard.
"I hate to keep saying this, but I've coached a lot of good players and he steps up as well as any of them in the moment as any I've ever had." Walsh said.
Trinity (17-1, 15-1 FCIAC), which temporarily moved a half game ahead of St. Joseph for the top seed in the conference standings, rode the inside play of Brandon Wheeler in the early going. Wheeler finished with 22 points.
"They played physically against me," Casimir said. "When they are doing that we had to try to get the ball in the middle. It was wide open and Brandon did a good job finishing."
Down the stretch, the Crusaders also got strong play from Danny O'Leary (8 points), Neno Merritt and Justice Page.
"Those guys really stepped up," Walsh said. "I give Westhill credit. Those kids play really hard. It is a credit to their coaches."
Jeremiah Livingston finished with 12 points and Ariel De La Cruz added 11 for the Vikings (15-3, 14-2), who have been the surprise team in the league this year but, during the most difficult stretch of the schedule, suffered their second loss in three games.
"We didn't shoot well and didn't run our offense," Westhill coach Howard White said. "Trinity came and came with determination. They wanted it more. I'm not saying my kids didn't want it. We weren't ready for what they were bringing us."
White shook his head when the conversation turned to Casimir.
"Schadrac is a great player," White said. "My coaches said man-to-man and I wasn't feeling it, but we had no choice."
The first half was a tight defensive struggle until Trinity closed with a 9-0 run to take a 24-14 lead.
The Vikings' offense is best when feeding off of their defensive pressure, and that was the case at the start of the third quarter, when De La Cruz scored four times on putbacks in transition to cut the deficit to 27-23.
Westhill was still within 42-37 with 5 1/2 minutes remaining when Casimir took over, scoring the first 3 off the dribble and the third from another area code.
"This felt especially good because it was two teams from Stamford and the atmosphere was crazy," Casimir said. "I don't think it would have felt as good against somebody else."
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TRINITY CATHOLIC 62, WESTHILL 46
TRINITY CATHOLIC (17-1, 15-1)
Schadrac Casimir 8 6-8 26; Tremaine Fraiser 3 0-0 6; Brandon Wheeler 9 4-7 22; Neno Merritt 0 0-0 0; Justice Page 0 0-0 0; Tyrell St. John 0 0-3 0; Pat Keneally 0 0-0 0; Danny O'Leary 4 0-0 8. TOTALS: 24 10-18 62.
WESTHILL (15-3, 14-2)
Jeremiah Livingston 5 2-4 12; Terrell Middleton 1 0-0 2; C.J. Donaldson 4 0-0 9; Evan Skoporantzos 1 1-2 3; Yveson Cassamajor 1 1-2 3; Cuyveson Cassmajor 0 1-2 1; Ariel De La Cruz 5 1-2 11; Jesse Koretz 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 19 5-10 46
TRINITY CATHOLIC 9 15 16 22--62
WESTHILL 9 5 19 13--46
3-point shots: TC--Casimir 4; W--Donaldson, Y. Cassmajor 2.