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Doug Delivers: Slumping Wreckers breathe sigh of relief

Updated 5:19 pm, Thursday, January 17, 2013
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Colin Devine knew that the Staples High boys basketball team would return to the win column at some point.

The only question, really, was when?

It took 32 minutes against one of the FCIAC's hottest teams -- Bridgeport Central, whose only loss came way back on Dec. 12 against Trinity Catholic -- for Staples to hit the reset button on its season.

Saddled with a four-game skid that dropped their record to 3-5, the Wreckers needed to get back on track in a hurry, and did so. Tuesday's win, 73-63 over Central, marked the first of 12 remarked the first of 12 remaining regular-season games for the Wreckers.

"We needed a win and we got one," said Devine, Staples' sixth-year head coach. "We're just going to continue to improve and hopefully go on a little bit of a run."

The Wreckers hope it's the kind of run that takes them to the FCIAC playoffs, a point they've talked for weeks about reaching.

On Tuesday, after recording their first win in 19 days, the Wreckers breathed a sigh of relief.

"We knew we didn't want to lose this one," said forward Ross Whelan, who notched a season-high 19 points in the win over Central. "We had good leadership, and I think we just played even harder because we knew if we lost this one, it would be tough to battle back."

Staples struggled to score during its slump, topping 45 points just once in the four games, but it got back on track against Central. The Wreckers opened the game on an 11-3 run and pulled out to a 17-point lead in the second quarter.

Relying heavily on guards James Frusciante and Peter Rankowitz for scoring in recent weeks, the Wreckers got plenty of help on the offensive end from their frontcourt, Whelan and Darryle Wiggins. The forwards combined for 32 points. All together, the four players totaled 69 points.

What sparked Staples, for a change? A continued attention to detail at practice certainly helped.

"We had a great walkthrough. We had two good days of preparation," Devine said. "The boys just got the job done when we needed to."

"After being in a funk the last couple games, it was good to come out and get the shots up," Whelan said. "(We) got here early today, and it really paid off."

Devine believed that Staples, which either led or was within four points at halftime in its four consecutive losses, was close to breaking out of its slump. He proved to be right.

"We were close. Obviously no one wants to go through a four-game losing streak, but three of those four games were within reach," Devine said. "It's great to get back in the win column against such a great opponent as Central."

dbonjour@scni.com; 203-255-4561 ext. 114; twitter.com/DougBonjour

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