You won’t find a better high school basketball coach in the area than Trinity Catholic’s Mike Walsh. His program has been the best in Fairfield County for two decades. The Crusaders are ranked seventh in the state by the New Haven Register, and Connecticut is home to some basketball powerhouses. Trinity Catholic routinely sends star players to big-time college basketball programs like UConn and Duke. This is a program that can compete on a national level, as last week’s win over Archbishop Molloy in the Northeast Christmas Classic at Webster Bank Arena proved.
So forgive me if when I woke up this morning I was surprised to read a text message that said “we beat trinity?” And I was shocked to read Scott Ericson in the Greenwich Time say that the Cardinals had knocked off the Crusaders, 43-41.
“Look, Greenwich deserved to win, we didn’t. No question about it,” Walsh said after the game. “We didn’t play hard, we didn’t play with enthusiasm. They wanted it more and they played harder than us and they deserved it.”
High praise from a guy who when all is said and done will go down as one of the greatest high school basketball coaches of all time. We’re talking about a legendary coach and program. Rashamel Jones, Craig Austrie, and David McClure played on Newfield Avenue before they played on the biggest stages in college sports. This is a program that Jim Calhoun and Mike Krzyzewski pay attention to. A program recognized nationally.
Credit here goes to Greenwich head coach Bill Brehm, who has his team at 5-1 following one of the biggest upsets – if not the biggest – in school history. I first met Brehm in 1999 during his first stint coaching the Cardinals. I’ve been impressed with the guy since day one. He knows the game, and more importantly, he knows how to coach. Maybe he’ll finally get the recognition he deserves now that the Cardinals will, for one day at least, become a topic of conversation around the state. You don’t upset a team like Trinity Catholic unless your coach devises the right game plan, prepares his team well in practice, and then coaches the heck out of them during the game. Brehm will be the first person to give the credit to his players, and they obviously deserve it. But this is our latest example of how important good coaching – just like good teaching – is. Enjoy this one, Bill. You deserve it.
I don’t root against Trinity Catholic, but if my alma mater is going to fall, I can’t argue with a story like this one.
Ericson’s game story is here. His blog post about the game is here.
Charles Costello is a contributing writer for Yahoo! Sports. His latest article – on Joe Torre’s return to Yankee Stadium – can be found here.