Summer Wreckers scorch Wilton
Total domination describes the Staples boys basketball team's performance on Sunday. Staples controlled the game from the opening tipoff in jumping out to a 16-0 lead in an 85-15 victory over Wilton in the DeSantis Summer League at Christian Heritage School in Trumbull. The Summer Wreckers raised their record to 5-2. Wilton dropped to 2-5.
"We played well as a team, passed well and hit the open shots," Staples senior captain Gabe Seidman said. "The defense played well and it led to our offense."
Senior Jake Felman (26 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, four steals, one 3-pointer, three forced turnovers) performed like an All-Stater. Despite being only 6-1, Felman controlled the glass and nailed four putbacks after grabbing the offensive rebound.
"It's about being aggressive and when everyone else boxes out, it's easy to get rebounds in the wide open lane," Felman said.
Even when he didn't get rebounds, Felman turned the Summer Warriors into toast when he made slicing moves to the basket and hit his layups. Senior captains Luke Yeager and Frankie Bergonzi fed him inside and sophomore Peter Rankowitz created space with his presence down low.
"When Wilton played a two-three zone, we got the ball to Pete in the blocks and when he got the ball, it was easy to get layups," Felman said. "He found me well."
Yeager (eight points, one 3-pointer, four rebounds, 13 assists, 10 steals, five forced turnovers) performed like Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns in the way he set up his teammates for easy layups. In addition to Felman, he set up Seidman and Bergonzi and made it look easy in the process.
"I just found the open man and my teammates did a good job finishing," Yeager said.
He especially turned thievery into an artform by making his steals look easy. He converted two into coast-to-coast layups and adroitly set his teammates up after the steal.
"We played in a zone, I took some risks and they paid off," Yeager said.
Seidman (16 points, two 3-pointers, six rebounds, one assist, five steals, four forced turnovers) drove well to the basket. He was also lethal from outside and was instrumental in the team's press.
Bergonzi (10 points, one 3-pointer, seven rebounds, six assists, three steals, four forced turnovers) attacked the basket well, set up his teammates inside and bottled up Wilton's ball handlers.
"We just had a real good flow on offense," Bergonzi said. "We passed and moved the ball well. They played a shift and we were able to draw them out and get nice layups. It was a lot of ball movement which opened up easy shots for us."
Despite being only 5-10, senior Rob DiBartolomeo (11 points, one 3-pointer, 13 rebounds, three assists, three steals, three forced turnovers) had a nose for the ball after it hit the rim and was big on the glass.
"Boxing out," said DiBartolomeo. "I didn't really expect to get the rebounds but I kept working."
DiBartolomeo also hit two layups off of steals. He said, "I anticipated the pass."
Rankowitz (eight points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal, three forced turnovers) showed a strong upside in his drives to the basket. He looked like he was going to be a major varsity contributor this winter.
"Pete Rankowitz is a nice player," Seidman said.
Junior Isaac Stein (six points, one rebound, one blocked shot, two forced turnovers) helped defensively inside and hit three layups, two from Yeager.
"It definitely helps when we can run our offense and we're able to practice and get ready for the real season, which is what summer league is all about," Seidman said.
The Summer Warriors started the game with four players and Staples junior Vasili Tziolis played for them. Tziolis scored five points.
Staples hopes it can duplicate its performance five months from now but knows it will have to step up its game.
"We're not going to take too much into it because we'll face a much tougher road," Yeager said. "If we play like this consistently, we'll be successful."
Felman said, "We can score points with anyone. As long as we control the glass, we'll be OK."