WESTPORT — Rebounds. Blocks. Steals. Ginny Gerig did all of these and more in her first start at the varsity level.

And now it appears the Staples girls basketball team has something it hasn’t in recent seasons: A true rim protector to make life difficult at the basket for opposing teams.

The Wreckers used a 14-0 run in the second half to build an insurmountable lead against New Canaan, eventually prevailing 43-28 in the season-opener for both teams.

Gerig — a 6-foot-2 volleyball player who joined the team for her senior year — proved to be the difference in a non-league game between FCIAC opponents. Most of the Rams shots inside were contested with Gerig’s long reach the major cause.

“I think it makes (the other team) realize that they aren’t going to get easy layups,” Staples coach Paco Fabian said. “With Ginny sitting in the lane, if you’re going to try to come in and try to have a layup, you’re going to have to shoot it over her.”

Though the Wreckers built a 10-0 lead inside the first five minutes, both teams went through significant scoring droughts. A 3-pointer from Rams senior Campbell Armstrong closed the gap to 13-11 late in the second quarter, but New Canaan would score just five points in the next 14 minutes as Staples began to pull away.

“I think some nerves played into this game tonight,” New Canaan coach Kim Palmer said. “We had some young players on the floor; it was a good experience. Unfortunately (Staples) went on some runs and we couldn’t catch up.”

One of those runs began midway through the third quarter with the Wreckers up 24-16. Staples freshman Arianna Gerig (10 points) scored eight points in the frame, and her layup with several seconds left made it 32-16. That run continued into the fourth, and the advantage grew to a game-high 22 points.

“The girls played hard,” Fabian said. “Any time you have a first game, you’re just so happy to get a win. We didn’t play our best, but New Canaan played very hard. We have to keep improving if we want to compete in the FCIAC.”

The Rams went 5-15 a year ago, but did hand Staples a late-season loss that helped knock the Wreckers out of state playoff contention. Armstrong scored 10 points while Karlie Bucci added nine to supply most of the Rams’ offense.

“Once we start to develop a little more confidence and feel a little bit more comfortable on the floor it will be a different story,” Palmer said. “I’m actually looking forward to playing Staples again.”

Julia Brower chipped in with 10 points for the Wreckers, who host McMahon Wednesday and Ludlowe Friday.

rlacey@bcnnew.com, twitter.com/ryanlacey11

STAPLES 43, NEW CANAAN 28

NEW CANAAN 4 8 4 12—28

STAPLES 10 8 14 11—43

NEW CANAAN (0-1)

Leigh Charlton 0 3-6 3 Jane Charlton 1 4-8 6 Campbell Armstrong 3 2-2 10 Karlie Bucci 3 3-6 9 Krug Reilly 0 0-0 0. Totals: Emma Garner 0 0-0 0. Totals: 7 12-22 28.

STAPLES (1-0)

Rachel Seideman 0 6-7 6 Olivia Troy 1 2-2 4 Arianna Gerig 5 0-0 10 Ginny Gerig 1 1-2 3 Nicole Dienst 2 0-0 5 Amanda Troelstra 0 1-2 1 Julia Brower 5 0-0 10 Elle Fair 0 2-2 2. Totals: 15 12-15 43.

3-pointers: NC—Armstrong 2; S—Dienst.