STAMFORD -- The Staples and Westhill girls basketball teams both struggled from the field in their game on Friday night, but one Viking made enough crucial plays to secure the win.

Senior Edona Thaqi scored 15 points and dished out four assists as Westhill clamped down on Staples in a 45-26 win.

Both teams ran the full-court press for the entire 32 minutes in the season-opener for the Vikings (1-0). The chaotic pace led to mistakes, but tough half-court defense was also present as the Wreckers struggled to get space inside.

"We realized we were outsized, we know we have to make other teams uncomfortable," first-year Westhill coach Brian Kriftcher said. "If we can rotate hard and get into good spots we can defend the paint we'll be alright."

Westhill led just 6-2 after the first quarter, with both teams ice cold from the field. Westhill inched ahead early in the second quarter with an 8-2 run.

"We weren't moving the ball well (in the first quarter)," Kriftcher said. "We were nervous, we were missing shots; that's what happens in first games. As long as we were defending the paint well the offense we can live with being a little slow."

Thaqi netted six quick points in the middle of the period to increase the lead to 20-6. The Vikings led 20-7 at halftime

"Edona is a special player; she's the best guard in Connecticut that no one's ever heard of," Kriftcher said. "She's more talented than she realizes. It's going to be a special year for her."

Staples, which defeated Norwalk in its season-opener Wednesday, held firm in the second half and cut the lead to 29-17 after four straight free throws by Rachel Seideman. Westhill then hit a pair of free throws to end the third quarter with a 31-18 lead.

"There were times we could have done better; we had trouble adjusting from our full-court to our half-court offense," Wreckers coach Paco Fabian said. "We didn't shoot from the floor well."

The Vikings began the fourth quarter on a 7-1 run to create even more breathing room. The Wreckers hit just six shots from the floor and none in an eight minute span bridging the third and fourth quarters. The teams combined for 14 foul shot attempts in the final quarter.

"Defensively we played hard, but we didn't play smart," Fabian said. "They worked hard, they rebounded hard; we just have to play smarter."

Westhill is in action next Wednesday at Darien, while the Wreckers have a bye before hosting Fairfield Ludlowe on Friday.

rlacey@bcnnew.com, @ryanlacey11

Westhill 45, Staples 26

STAPLES (1-1)

Abby Lustig 1 4-6 6 Tessa Mall 0 1-2 1 Madeline Schemel 0 0-1 0 Maggie Fair 1 0-0 3 Rachel Seideman 0 4-6 4 Sarah Mahoney 2 0-0 4 Alyssa Perry 1 3-4 5 Gabby Perry 0 1-2 1 Julia Brower 0 0-2 0 Talia Henoel 1 0-0 2. Totals: 6 13-23 26.

WESTHILL (1-0)

Sam Corsello 2 2-2 6 Elizabeth Grosso 2 2-2 6 Diana Pierre 2 1-2 5 Olivia Wise 2 4-4 8 Edona Thaqi 6 3-4 15 Courtney Xu 1 0-0 2 Emma Gargiulo 1 1-2 3. Totals: 16 13-16 45.

STAPLES 2 5 11 8--26

WESTHILL 6 14 11 14--45

3-pointers: S--Fair.