WESTPORT -- The Staples and Trinity Catholic boys basketball teams traded one big shot after another in a crucial game on Tuesday night. A tight contest throughout, it appeared it would come down to whoever had the ball last.

The Wreckers possessed the ball with a chance to take the lead in the final seconds, and up stepped Connor Whelan to send the Staples gym into hysteria.

Whelan hit a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired, sending Staples to a wild 60-58 win over Trinity Catholic at home.

"The kids did an outstanding job, we made some big shots when we needed to," Staples coach Colin Devine said. "We kept responding and responding and I couldn't be happier. (Whelan) made a big shot at the end."

With time dwindling, the Wreckers inbounded the ball from mid court. Dylan Dreyfuss dribbled the ball into the front court and found Whelan, who got off the shot with two seconds remaining. The ball bounced off the iron for what seemed like an eternity, and went through the net as the horn sounded.

"That was the longest time," Whelan said. "I just kept jumping backwards and just kept thinking it's going to go in. It was good, though."

With the score tied at 57 moments earlier, Whelan got a wide open look from deep that missed the rim. Undaunted, he fired the next chance he got home.

"I just had next-play mentality," Whelan said. "I thought it was the best look we could get so I just put it up."

Following Whelan's first miss, the Crusaders took possession with about 1:15 left and looked to run the clock. The Wreckers fouled Tyrell St. John with 13 seconds remaining and he split a pair of free throws, giving Staples a chance at the win.

"For the most part everything worked according to plan, except we didn't figure (Whelan) was going to hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat us," Trinity coach Mike Walsh said.

St. John torched the Wreckers with a game-high 27 points, including eight in the final period to keep the Crusaders alive.

"(St. John's) an All-FCIAC player, he always has been," Walsh said. "It's his time to shine, Tremaine Fraiser graduated, Shadrac Casimir graduated. He's been carrying us all year long."

St. John and Staples sophomore Justin Seideman were locked in a duel in the final period. Seideman (23 points) hit three of his 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, helping Staples erase a six-point gap -- the largest of the entire game. Seideman's layup on a pass from Ben Casparius gave the Wreckers a 57-55 lead with two minutes left. Jon Lyons, who added 19 for Trinity, quickly responded with a jumper to tie the game and set the stage for the final moments.

"(Seideman) was great," Devine said. "In every role we put him in he's really found his way. Tonight he was excellent making big shot after big shot."

The win kept the Wreckers in the race to reach the FCIAC tournament, and put them one win away from securing a state playoff place.

"One of our goals is to be a state tournament basketball team and we're one win away," Devine said. "(Whelan) made a big shot for us tonight; we have to keep going."

rlacey@bcnnew.com, @ryanlacey11

Staples 60, Trinity Catholic 58


Tyrell St. John 9 8-11 27 Justice Page 2 0-0 4 Anthony Lombardi 1 0-0 2 Thomas Costigan 1 2-2 4 Thomas Tamiolakis 0 0-0 0 Jon Lyons 6 3-3 19 Johnny Somers 1 0-0 2 Totals 20 13-16 58.

STAPLES (7-6, 6-5 FCIAC)

Nic Esposito 4 0-0 8 Connor Whelan 2 0-0 5 Ben Casparius 4 3-4 15 Justin Seideman 7 4-5 23 Sean Pritchett 4 1-3 9 Dylan Dreyfuss 0 0-0 0 Fred Hertan 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 8-12 60.

TRINITY CATHOLIC 15 14 19 10--58

STAPLES 11 16 17 16--60

3-pointers: TC--St. John, Lyons 4; S--Whelan, Casparius 4, Seideman 5.