NEW CANAAN, Conn. – The first victory of Mike Evans’ coaching career at New Canaan High School may have been the most difficult to attain.
The Rams defeated Trumbull High School on Wednesday night, 47-42, to give Evans his first win after five losses. The Rams grabbed the lead midway through the second quarter and never relinquished it. Andrew Read led the way with 17 points.
“Looking at our schedule, we knew it was going to be a tough go,’’ Evans said. The Rams opened with a brutal schedule against Harding, St. Joseph, Bridgeport Central, Staples and Greenwich high schools. “We’re also dealing with some deep things. We’re dealing with culture change.”
Evans, a former star at Weston High School, is taking over a team that has gone 7-33 the past two seasons under two coaches. Progress is going to be slow. But Evans liked what he saw on Wednesday, as the Rams took better care of the basketball. After averaging more than 20 turnovers in the first five games, New Canaan threw it away just 10 times against Trumbull.
“The turnovers prove a point,’’ Evans said. “We can yell it all day long. I haven’t had a voice since Nov. 29. But until they see it work, it doesn’t take effect. When we told them it was 10 turnovers, they went nuts.”
The Rams trailed throughout the first quarter before taking the lead on a 3-pointer by Erik Jager with 3:54 left in the second quarter. Trumbull tied the game at 27-27 in the third quarter. The Rams led 31-29 entering the fourth quarter and built their biggest lead, 41-34, with 1:40 to play.
Read hit eight free throws in the final quarter to help the Rams hold on. Zach Allen added 10 points for New Canaan, and Claude Chandonnet had seven.
“This team had a tough year last year,’’ Evans said. “Winning this one does a lot for their psyche.”