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Greenwich boys cool off red-hot Wreckers

Updated 11:39 am, Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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  • Alex Wolf # 32 of Greenwich dunks the ball during the boys high school basketball game between Greenwich High School and Staples High School at Greenwich, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. Photo: Bob Luckey / Greenwich Time
    Alex Wolf # 32 of Greenwich dunks the ball during the boys high school basketball game between Greenwich High School and Staples High School at Greenwich, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. Photo: Bob Luckey

 

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The more the Staples fans shouted at him, the more Greenwich High guard Alex McMurray wanted to silence them.

McMurray and the Cardinals did just that, beating the Wreckers 55-43 on Tuesday to keep their FCIAC playoff hopes alive with three games left in the regular season.

Getting the win over rival Staples in front of a large contingent of Wreckers' fans who traveled down I-95 was almost as satisfying to McMurray as the playoff implications the game carried.

Almost.

"It feels great. It (stinks) that we lost to them two years in a row in football (in the FCIAC championship game) and that is what the crowd was saying all game to me, but we kept them quiet by winning by 12," McMurray said. "They were screaming at us and that just fuels my energy. I love when other crowds try to get into my head. I feel like some guys on our team were having some doubts, but after this game, there is no more doubt. We are getting into FCIACs."

Staples (10-7, 9-6) had its three-game win streak snapped and lost for just the second time in its last nine games.

McMurray was the emotional leader on the court, but CJ Byrd and Alex Wolf led the charge offensively for Greenwich (9-8, 8-7 FCIAC), scoring 19 points apiece.

Wolf, who missed two games due to a coach's decision, entered in the second quarter and changed the dynamic of the game. The 6-foot-9 Wolf gave Greenwich a formidable presence in the post.

Midway through the second quarter, Greenwich switched to a 2-3 zone and threw Staples out of rhythm. The Cardinals went on a 10-2 run and led 26-22 at halftime.

Greenwich has used the 2-3 zone only a few times this season, but each time it has proven effective, in part due to the experience of the Cardinals' players, according to coach Bill Brehm.

"It's huge because sometimes with high school kids you don't want to do something they haven't been doing," Brehm said. "It is a real asset to be able to do that. We have seven seniors on the team and that is a big part of it, because they have been around for a while and they know how to do that."

Staples coach Colin Devine thought the zone was disruptive to his shooters, but he credited his defense with keeping the game close after his shooters went cold.

"You have to give Greenwich credit, they played a great zone tonight," Devine said. "They are big and long and have Wolf in the middle and McMurray up top, and they gave us trouble. I thought our defense kept us in the game and ... if a few shots fall, we are right there."

Guard James Frusciante lead the Wreckers with 12 points and forward Ross Whelan had 10. The team's leading scorer entering the night, guard Peter Rankowitz, recorded just nine points.

Greenwich led 41-35 after three quarters and Staples got within 43-37, but Greenwich held the Wreckers to just two field goals in the fourth.

The Wreckers came in as the No. 7 team in the FCIAC. Greenwich came in tied for ninth with idle Bassick.

scott.ericson@scni.com; 203-625-4458; http://twitter.com/greenwichsports/

GREENWICH 55, STAPLES 43

STAPLES (10-7, 9-6 FCIAC)

James Frusciante 4 3-3 12; Jake Melnick 1 0-0 2; Peter Rankowitz 3 3-4 9; Ross Whelan 4 0-0 10; Darryle Wiggins 1 0-0 2; Nick Esposito 2 4-4 8; David Katz 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 10-11 43

GREENWICH (9-8, 8-7)

Jimmy Djema 1 1-2 3; Thomas Baietto 0 0-0 0; CJ Byrd 7 3-4 19; Leonel Hyatt 0 0-0 0; Alex McMurray 3 1-2 8; Alex Wolf 5 7-10 19; Jon Palmer 1 2-3 4; Dan Guise 1 0-0 2. Totals: 19 14-20 55

GREENWICH 11 15 15 14 -- 55

STAPLES 14 8 13 8 -- 43

3-pointers: G -- Byrd 2, McMurray; S -- Whelan 2, Frusciante.

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