Before the season, the Staples High boys basketball team set making the FCIAC playoffs as one of its main goals.
On Wednesday evening, however, the Wreckers saw that dream dashed.
The Wreckers fell behind Bassick by as many as 10 points in the first half and failed to recover, losing 71-66 to the Lions on Senior Night.
With the loss -- its second straight and third in four games -- Staples dropped to 11-9 (10-8 FCIAC) and was eliminated with Greenwich's 50-46 win over Danbury on Wednesday. The Cardinals, who locked up the No. 8 seed, finished with the same record as the Wreckers, but owned the head-to-head tie-breaker.
"We came up just a little bit short, unfortunately twice this week," Staples coach Colin Devine said. "The kids kept fighting and fighting to the end."
"Our guards have been underrated all year," Bassick coach Bernie Lofton said. "They're three-year varsity players, but they haven't had opportunities because of the depth we've had the last couple of years.
"Devan Bramwell and Demetrius Young, they can play with anybody in this league, probably anybody in the state."
The Wreckers got as close as 68-66 in the final minute on a layup by guard James Frusciante, but Bassick jumped ahead 70-66 with 17.3 seconds left on Bramwell's bucket.
Staples, which missed a chance to lock up an FCIAC berth on Monday in a 70-68 double-overtime loss at Danbury, trailed by as many as nine points in the fourth quarter.
Senior guard Peter Rankowitz led all scorers with 29 points, while James Frusciante added 16 points. Forward Darryle Wiggins had nine points.
"You just feel for all the seniors who put in the hard work and effort into being an FCIAC playoff team," Devine said. "However, the season's not over. We'll just prepare and keep working to hopefully make a deep run into the state playoffs."
Bassick led 15-14 after the first quarter, then used an 11-0 spurt in the second to jump ahead 30-20. The Wreckers got within five points before Young knocked down a jumper to give the Lions a 34-27 advantage at halftime.
The Lions, the two-time defending FCIAC champions, won't get the chance for a three-peat this season, but they're confident heading into the L state tournament. The win over Staples ended a two-game slide.
"It was big," Young said of the win. "We were getting ready for states, and trying to get a good seed. It hurts not being able to defend our FCIAC title."
Staples got a 3-pointer from Frusciante to open the third quarter, trimming the deficit to 34-30, but Bassick continued to hold its lead. The Lions saw Staples get within 43-40 later in the quarter before Young answered with a trey.
The Lions got contributions on offense throughout the lineup as forwards Dale Kirkland and Donald Young scored nine points apiece.
"We never know who is going to be the key player for us," Lofton said.
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BASSICK 71, STAPLES 66
BASSICK (11-9, 9-9 FCIAC)
Kobe Ancrcum 5 0-0 10 Curhone Baldwin 2 0-0 6 Devan Bramwell 4 1-4 10 Anthony Brown 0 3-4 3 Jacob Difre 0 0-0 0 Rajohn Jones 1 0-0 3 Dale Kirkland 2 5-6 9 Demetrius Young 7 4-4 21 Donald Young 4 1-4 9. Totals 25 14-21 71.
STAPLES (11-9, 10-8)
Jacob Melnick 0 0-0 0 James Frusciante 3 9-14 16 Joe Greenwald 0 1-2 1 David Katz 0 0-0 0 Nick Esposito 0 0-0 0 Darryle Wiggins 4 1-5 9 Ross Whelan 2 2-3 6 Peter Rankowitz 12 4-5 29 Nick Ward 0 0-0 0 Alex Addessi 2 0-0 4. Totals 23 17-29 66.
BASSICK 15 19 18 19 -- 71
STAPLES 14 13 20 19 -- 66
3-pointers: B -- Demetrius Young 3, Baldwin 2, Bramwell, James, Donald Young; S -- Frusciante, Rankowitz.
Fouled out: B -- Kirkland; S -- Wiggins.