By Eliot Schickler

After losing two straight games, the Staples girls basketball team was determined to return to its winning ways. Mission accomplished as not only did Staples get back on the winning track, it did so in a big way with a 78-38 home victory over Bridgeport Central on Tuesday. The Lady Wreckers raised their record to 3-2. Central dropped to 0-5.

"It feels good to win, execute and perform well in all areas of the game," Staples Coach Ed Huydic said. "We defended well and shot the ball well. We worked well from the perimeter and from inside."

Lady Wreckers senior captain MK Van Sant said, "We just had to come out there ready to play after losing two straight games and we wanted to win it for ourselves and the coaches."

Staples opened the game with a 21-13 lead after one quarter before extending it to 42-21 at the break. The Lady Wreckers outscored the Lady Hilltoppers 22-7 in the third quarter to take a whopping 64-28 lead into the fourth quarter.

"This was a big game for us after losing to Ridgefield and Trinity Catholic last week," senior captain Nikki Brill said. "We looked to play as a team against Central and we did. We were strong on defense and offense."

Van Sant led the way with 16 points on one 3-pointer, 10 rebounds and four assists.

"I didn't play well the game before so I worked on my shot over the weekend and I was able to drain them," Van Sant said.

Brill said, "MK had a great game on both ends of the court."

Junior Remy Nolan was stellar on both sides of the ball. Nolan had 16 points, including two treys, to go with two rebounds and one assist. She was especially tenacious on defense with six steals and one tieup.

"I just anticipated where the ball was going and I went for everything," Nolan said. "I just took it to the basket off of my steals and I worked on my shooting and it worked out."

Despite only being 5-7, Brill, who epitomizes toughness, grabbed 15 rebounds.

"The key is to boxing the girls out," Brill said. "My teammates did a great job of boxing out and it was easy to get to the ball."

Brill also had 13 points, seven assists, two steals and two tieups.

"The plays Huydic had us run made it easy for a lot of us to get open," Brill said. "It's not just one person who is capable of scoring for us this year."

Sophomore point guard Erica Stein ran the offense well with five assists. Stein also scored 11 points, including two trifectas, grabbed a rebound and a steal.

Complementing Brill and Van Sant inside was junior Sydney Houseworth (eight points, 10 rebounds, one assist, three steals, two tieups) and sophomore Nikki Bukovsky (six points, seven rebounds, one assist, two steals). Senior Asia Bravo (two points, three rebounds, one blocked shot, three tieups) also contributed inside.

Also chipping in were sophomores Morgan DiDonato (two points) Ali April (one rebound, two assists) and Lexi Andros (one rebound, two assists) and freshman Sophie de Bruijn (two points, four rebounds).

"Last week was a grind and today [Tuesday against Central] was a good bounce back game for us," Huydic said. "The girls responded favorably tonight after two grinding losses. We came out with a lot of energy and responded in all areas of the game."

Van Sant said, "We played well and the starting five was unstoppable. It was a teamwork game and our chemistry was unbelievable."