Laverne & Shirley was the highest rated American television show the last time someone other than Ed Huydic opened training camp as the head coach of the Staples girls basketball team. That new face manning the sideline this winter will be Paco Fabian.

Paco Fabian takes over for Huydic, who guided the team for the previous 34 seasons. Fabian also coaches the Staples girls tennis team in the spring.

Fabian made his debut on Wednesday night as the Wreckers held off Norwalk, the school Fabian played for and worked as an assistant to girls coach Rick Fuller.

"It was a nervous excitement," Fabian said. "I was really confident in our girls; we've been doing well in our scrimmages. Coming into it I wasn't sure to expect. I was more nervous than I thought I was going to be."

Fabian hopes to inject a positive attitude to the team that hasn't enjoyed as much success as hoped on the court over the past couple of seasons. The Wreckers also want to up the tempo and get out and run when possible.

More Information

Fact box

"It's a faster pace this year," senior point guard Fair said. "Last year we played a spread offense, this year we are running the ball a ton."

"We are playing (man-to-man) more (than last year)," senior Abby Lustig added. "We're going to pick full court a lot; it's a faster paced game this year."

Staples went 7-13 a season ago, missing out on the state tournament for the second consecutive year after qualifying the previous 28. The Wreckers return most of their top contributors, including top scorer Lustig. A strong senior class also includes guards Fair and Tessa Mall, and center Madeline Schemel.

"The last couple of years we haven't made the state tournament," Fabian said. "I had a feeling with some of the close games it is going to be difficult."

Qualifying for the Class LL tournament remains the top goal, but developing a program capable of competing with the top tier schools down the road is a priority. In order to make the state playoffs this year, the Wreckers must secure wins over Harding (Jan. 20), Brien McMahon (Jan. 22), New Canaan (Feb. 6 and Bassick (Feb. 12). Staples will also compete in the Lavista Christmas Tournament with New Canaan and Darien.

Staples visits Westhill Dec. 12 and will host Fairfield Ludlowe Dec. 19.