WESTPORT -- Fresh off a holiday trip to the Bluegrass State, the Greenwich boys basketball team returned home ready to establish itself as one of the teams to beat in the FCIAC.
A 30-point win behind a furious defensive effort to cement its unblemished record was the perfect welcome-home present for the Cardinals.
CJ Byrd scored 20 points and Alex Wolf posted a double-double of 16 points and10 rebounds, leading Greenwich to an impressive 66-36 win at Staples on Tuesday to improve to 5-0 on the season.
"We really wanted to apply some ball pressure," Greenwich coach Bill Brehm said. "We wanted to keep the ball away from (Wreckers' guard David) Katz, face guard him, which Jonathan Palmer did very well. Ball pressure defensive rebounding is what we really stressed."
Greenwich won a holiday tournament at Perry Central High School in Kentucky Dec. 27-28 and according to Brehm was successful both on and off the court.
"It was great, I think the kids bonded really well there and luckily we got two wins there," Brehm said. "It helped us and the kids got to know each other."
Leonel Hyatt added 10 for the Cardinals Tuesday, who dominated the final three quarters. Greenwich outscored the Wreckers 50-21 during that stretch. Forced turnovers and a significant edge in rebounds combined to take Staples out of their offensive rhythm.
"Greenwich did a nice job of pushing us off our spots with pressure," Wreckers coach Colin Devine said. "We didn't do what we needed to do to be successful, we didn't block out on the offensive and defensive backboards."
The contest was competitive early on. The Wreckers sunk three 3-pointers in the first quarter, helping erase a 12-6 deficit and entered the second quarter trailing by a single point.
"We really played well in the first quarter," Devine said. "Give Greenwich credit: they are a top three team in the league and we have to learn from our mistakes and move on."
Greenwich held the Wreckers scoreless for the first 3:33 of the second quarter, during which time the Cardinals extended their lead to 23-15. The advantage ballooned to 35-20 at the half behind the balanced offensive attack.
"It's tough because (teams) can't key on anybody and sharing the ball is part of that," Brehm said. "We don't have any selfish players and it's very though for teams to prepare where you have many kids that can score."
Byrd scored 10 points in the third quarter to put the contest on ice. Excellent interior passing caught the Staples frontline off guard for most of the game.
"We've worked a lot on that," Brehm said. "It has not come easy. I think the kids are sharing the ball right now. They know their roles, their accepting their roles and they are executing them well right now."
Katz led Staples with 11 points, while Darryle Wiggins added nine. The Wreckers went 4-of-23 from 3-point range as a team.
GREENWICH 66, STAPLES 36
GREENWICH (5-0, 3-0 FCIAC)
CJ Byrd 9 2-2 20; Tom Povinelli 1 0-0 2; Leonel Hyatt 3 4-7 10; Alex Wolf 7 2-2 16; Jon Palmer 1 0-0 2; Patrick Santini 1 2-2 4; Kyle Foote 2 0-0 5; Matt Ellsworth 1 1-2 3; Griffin Golden 1 4-4 . Totals: 25 15-19 66
STAPLES (2-2. 1-1)
David Katz 2 5-6 11; Nic Esposito 2 2-2 6; Darryle Wiggins 3 3-4 9; Jake Melnick 0 2-2 2; Todd Goldstein 1 0-0 2; Ben Casparius 2 0-0 6. Totals: 10 12-14 36
GREENWICH 16 19 17 14--66
STAPLES 15 5 4 12--36
3-pointers: G--Foote; S--Casparius 2, Katz 2.