Staples girls basketball falls to Darien
Updated 8:01 am, Wednesday, February 8, 2017
A win on senior night in front of a packed bleachers would have done wonders for the Staples girls basketball team in terms of adding another notch in its breakout season and keeping a firm hold on one of the final FCIAC playoff spots.
Darien, with postseason aspirations of its own, had other plans.
Led by a dominating performance inside from forwards Chrissie Fiore (28 points) and Katie Ramsay (11), the Blue Wave finished Tuesday’s game on a 12-3 run to prevail 63-52 over the Wreckers. Now officially qualified for the state tournament, Darien (8-8) —which held Staples without a field goal for the final 3:45 — still has hopes of reaching FCIACs with its final three games against teams below it in the standings.
Staples dropped to 11-6 with the defeat.
Fiore’s performance will be looked back on if the Blue Wave do make a late stride into FCIACs. The 6-foot junior scored 10 points in the first quarter and went 14-for-17 from the foul line for the game. Ramsay scored all her points after halftime as the duo asserted their dominance.
“They’re the two girls on our team with varsity experience from last year,” Darien coach Steve Dunn said. “They play smart and they’re very athletic. They use their size but they’re also quick. I think that was the difference; they were beating their man down the court for easy baskets.”
Darien held a 51-43 lead with less than five minute to play before a Wreckers’ rally put the visitors back under pressure. Staples’ full-court press had mixed results for the evening, but it did lead to consecutive baskets by Arianna Gerig and Julia Brower; Gerig then sank a pair of foul shots to pull to within 51-49 with three minutes to play.
Staples went cold at the wrong time, though, as open shots and drives to the basket wouldn’t fall. Already in the bonus to start the quarter, the Blue Wave hit six straight from the line to wrap up the game.
“We were wide open, we just had to hit a couple of shots,” Staples coach Paco Fabian said. “There comes a point where you have to put the ball in the basket to win a basketball game.”
The teams weren’t separated by more than six points until the fourth quarter, as most of the contest was played at a high pace. A 3-pointer by Staples’ Elle Fair — who led her team with 17 points — gave the Wreckers a 17-16 lead after one.
The result leaves the Wreckers in a perilous position to reach the FCIAC playoffs with Wilton and Greenwich nearby. A fourth challenger in the Blue Wave has also surfaced in a race to claim one of the final two spots.
“We didn’t want to have to watch any other scores,” Fabian said. “Tonight we wanted to make it that we didn’t have to, but we have to do a little scoreboard watching and we’re going to have to win ourselves.”