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Staples boys top New Canaan in LaVista Tournament opener

Published 1:40 pm, Friday, December 28, 2012
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NEW CANAAN -- Peter Rankowitz wouldn't allow the Staples High boys basketball team to open the LaVista Tournament on a sour note.

The senior guard connected on five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 23 points to spur the Wreckers to a commanding 66-57 win over host New Canaan on Thursday evening.

Rankowitz and senior guard James Frusciante--who finished the game with 18 points, hitting a pair of treys--combined for 20 points in the first half, and pushed the Wreckers out to a 37-28 lead at the break.

"I couldn't be happier," Staples head coach Colin Devine said of his starting guard tandem. "They're our leaders and they're playing well in stretches, and in the games we need them to."

Now 3-1 on the season, Staples advanced to the holiday tournament final, where it will face Darien (1-3) on Saturday at 3 p.m. at New Canaan High School. The Blue Wave defeated Greenwich (3-2) 78-68 in overtime in Thursday's other semifinal.

Staples, which led by as many as 21 points, hit nine 3-pointers in the win.

"When they switched to the zone, it kind of opened up some outside shots," Rankowitz said. "If you move the ball quickly enough, you open up some room on the perimeter."

Staples senior forward Ross Whelan, who hit a pair of 3-pointers, finished with 12 points, while Darryle Wiggins added eight.

The Wreckers also piled up an advantage at the free-throw line. They had 31 attempts, hitting 20 of them, while New Canaan got to the line just 11 times.

Sophomore forward Zachary Allen led New Canaan (0-4) with 19 points, while Claude Chandonnet Jr. had 13 points.

Up 22-8 after one quarter, Staples led by as many as 18 points in the second quarter. The Rams answered back with six straight points and cut the deficit to as a few as eight, but Staples proved too explosive.

"At some times we had some lapses and they got some easy baskets," Devine said. "Again (it's) one of those things that we have to tighten up when we get to practice."

The Wreckers opened the third quarter on a 10-2 run and led by 17 points heading into the fourth. Rankowitz, the team's leading scorer entering the day, scored eight of his points in the third.

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

STAPLES 66, NEW CANAAN 57

STAPLES (3-1)

Jacob Melnick 0 0-0 0 James Frusciante 3 10-15 18 Joe Greenwald 3 0-0 6 David Katz 0 0-1 0 Andrew Felman 0 0-0 0 Nick Esposito 0 0-0 0 Darryle Wiggins 2 4-4 8 Ross Whelan 4 2-5 12 Todd Goldstein 0 0-0 0 Peter Rankowitz 7 4-6 23 Nick Ward 0 0-0 0 Alex Addessi 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 20-31 66.

NEW CANAAN (0-4)

Alex Curto 0 0-0 0 Max Urbahn 0 0-0 0 Calude Chandonnet Jr. 6 0-1 13 Andrew Mills 0 0-0 0 Andrew Read 2 0-0 5 Henry Lavieri 1 0-0 2 Matthew Swift 2 2-4 6 Christopher DeWaele 2 0-0 4 Christopher Andrews 0 0-0 0 Paul Hagopian 0 0-0 0 Andrew Penchuk 0 0-0 0 Erik Jager 4 0-0 8 Ryan Becker 0 0-0 0 Zachary Allen 7 4-6 19. Totals 24 6-11 57.

STAPLES 22 15 19 10--66

NEW CANAAN 8 20 11 18--57

3-pointers: S--Rankowitz 5, Frusciante 2, Whelan 2. NC--Chandonnet Jr, Read.

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