A second half can do unpredictable things to a basketball team.

After being up 25--15 going into the second half, the Staples girls basketball team dropped a 42--41 nail-biter to Shelton Wednesday in the DeSantis Basketball Academy Summer League game at Christian Heritage School.

Staples rushed out to an early 15--1 lead by the hands of incoming junior Erica Stein (10 points) and incoming senior Remy Nolan (five points). Stein led the team on offense throughout the game, dishing out timely assists and scoring key baskets for the Summer Lady Wreckers.

The strongest point of Staples' game during the first half was not its high-powered offense, but its shut-down defense.

The Summer Lady Wreckers ran a full-court press in the first half that led to plenty of turnovers, and a lot of fast break scores, which catapulted Staples ahead

While the first half was dominated by Staples, Shelton had plans of its own in the second half. The Summer Gaelettes solved the Summer Lady Wreckers' defense to begin the second half, surging on a 21--9 run to take the lead.

"Our team got tired out there," Staples Coach Joe Coelho said. "We have a lot of young girls that aren't used to playing varsity basketball. We don't have very much depth."

With only two starters from the 2010-11 season on the team, he's certainly right. The team's roster is chock full of incoming juniors that are wide-eyed to get onto a varsity court. Stein, is one of those players and is poised to be a leader for the Lady Wreckers this coming winter. One of two returning starters for Staples, she garnered Second Team All-FCIAC honors this past season.

Nolan was All-FCIAC Honorable Mention this year. With her hard court prowess, she aims to be a leader for the Lady Wreckers and stake a claim atop the echelon of players in the FCIAC.

Despite only scoring five points, Nolan was a leader on the court, making great passes and setting key plays for the Summer Lady Wrecker offense while dominating the top of the key on defense, causing several turnovers.

However, late in the second half, Nolan fouled out. She was troublesome all game, with four fouls in the first half alone.

"It was really frustrating to be off the court in the final minute when we had a chance to win. I love being a part of this team and I don't like not being able to help us win," said Nolan.

"I tried to keep in our experienced players but Remy had foul trouble, I tried to hold her for the second half. She's a good defensive player and losing her to fouls was tough for the team," said Coach Coelho.

With 18 seconds left in the game, incoming senior center Jess Coelho (10 points) all but saved the game with a stellar defensive effort to give the Summer Lady Wreckers the ball back down by one. Coelho got the chance to take the game-winning shot and bounced it off the rim.

"That was my shot, I always take that shot and I just missed it," Coelho said. "They just went on a run and we didn't have good looks. Their spirits went up and they had all the momentum. This was our closest game yet."

Shelton's offense was paced by senior Kelsey Pendagast, who scored 22 of her team's 42 points. Alyssa Eannotti also had 10 points for the Summer Gaelettes.

This loss is all the more bitter for the Wreckers because the game was practically in the bag after the first half. It would have given Staples its first win of the season, Wednesday's game brings them to 0--5 while Shelton raised its record to 4-1.

"We came out strong and played well, but we need to work on boxing out and playing better defense in the post," Nolan said. "We also need more offensive movement. But we ran the fast break well and played tough."

Certainly, a one-point-loss is not an easy one to swallow, but the Summer Lady Wreckers will be back next Wednesday to play Trumbull at Lauralton Hall at 6 p.m.