Wreckers cagers cap season
There will be no Cinderella run in the Class LL tournament for the 27th-seeded Staples boys basketball team. Staples lost 101-71 at sixth-seeded Windsor March 9 in the first round of the Class LL playoffs to end its season at 10-11.
"After any loss, you are disappointed, but Windsor is a talented team and it will help us going forward next year," Wreckers Head Coach Colin Devine said.
Windsor raised its record to 20-4 and advanced to the quarterfinals with an 82-53 home win over 11th-seeded Notre Dame of West Haven last Thursday before ending its season at 21-5 with an 80-61 loss against third-seeded Hillhouse at Southington on Monday.
Staples trailed by only 12 with only six minutes remaining in the game but its shots didn't fall late in the quarter and the Warriors had fast break points off of long rebounds to break it open.
"I got a bunch of layups early on because their pressure defense may have created turnovers but it also opened up easy drives for me," Bergonzi said.
Seidman scored most of his points at the foul line.
"The whole team played well," Seidman said. "Their crowd was good at rattling us but I was able to make them."
Staples juniors Luke Yeager (14 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal) and Grant Fenton (10 points, five rebounds, two steals, one blocked shot) also scored in double figures. Also contributing for the Wreckers were senior captain Brendan Rankowitz (six points, two rebounds), juniors Jake Felman (two points) and Andreas Bub (two points) and freshman Peter Rankowitz (one point), who scored his first varsity point.
"I thought we could have done better but overall, it was a good year," Seidman said.
Bergonzi said, "Obviously, you are not ready for the season to end regardless of who you are playing. It was a tough game. The difference was their depth. We only played six guys until the final minute while they put out a fresh five all the time."
Brendan Rankowitz said, "Windsor was just a great team. We had a great season and we'll be better next year."
Except for a few believers, including this reporter, no one gave Staples a chance in the preseason because it lost all of its starters to graduation. Some thought the Wreckers would win four games at most but this group showed its heart and determination and defied the naysayers.
With four starters returning, coupled with a tenacious Felman, who contributed big minutes as the sixth man, and an improving Bub, everyone will expect Staples to contend in the FCIAC and Class LL.
"I wasn't really surprised," Devine said. "After [the season-opening] Central game, I knew we had to get back to work and the kids worked hard in practice. Because of their hard work, success came their way. I'm extremely excited for next year and I think the kids will put in the hard work in the offseason. I have no set amount of wins for next year but I hope they work hard and do some damage in the FCIAC and Class LL playoffs."
Seidman said, "We have higher expectations next year than we had for this past year. We definitely hope to make FCIACs."
Bergonzi said, "As a team, we always had high expectations. Few people expected us to get 10 wins but as the season progressed, we came together as a team and got varsity experience. We're looking to have a great year next year and with almost all of the guys returning, we hope to go far in FCIACs and States."