Fair, Gerig continue to lead Staples girls basketball push for postseason success
WESTPORT — As the first week of the new season comes to a close, the Staples girls basketball team had an eventful few games out of the gate.
A tough out-of-conference loss to Bethel on opening night, followed up with a pair of FCIAC wins over New Canaan and St. Joseph’s — with the latter being a gritty, comeback victory on the road over the Cadets.
It was in that game that two players stepped up for coach Paco Fabian and company to handle the bulk of the offensive load in junior Elle Fair and sophomore Arianna Gerig.
Despite both dealing with some frustrations early on, Fabian said.
“They’re faces turned,” he said. “It looked like they were angry. It was a physical game and they turned it up. They knew they were being guarded hard by St. Joe’s. They moved off the ball better to come get the passes instead of trying to do everything off the dribble.”
Even with the season still in its infancy, both Fair and Gerig have been the Wreckers leading scorers and while that can come with added pressure, being able to share that load with an intelligent, savvy point guard like Fair makes the job that much easier, Gerig said.
“It’s great having Elle,” she said. “We work great together. She’s just a leader on and off the court. She’s really been kind of a mentor to me. She’s great at talking and she brings so much to the team that no one else really brings.”
Although the duo is able to divvy the bulk of the load, FCIAC coaches have their work cut out for them when facing the Wreckers.
Following difficulties in first half against the Cadets on Tuesday night, Gerig and Fair led the charge as Staples came back after trailing by as many as 12 points.
“Our thing was we had to take Elle away,” St. Joseph’s coach Chris Lindwall said.
Fair finished with 14 points and six steals, while Gerig — after dealing with some foul trouble — matched her teammate with 14 points of her own to go along with 10 rebounds.
That can be the issue with having a 1-2 punch, try to hold one down and the other can burn an opposing team.
But neither are strangers to success this season while donning the Staples colors, as Fair was a co-captain and vital member of the Class L Field Hockey state championship team.
While on the pitch, Gerig was a star reserve for the Wreckers soccer team that reached both the FCIAC and Class LL finals this fall.
Both will be looking to duplicate that big game experience from the fields to the hardwood and pick up where the Wreckers basketball team left off a season ago.
Each turned in strong performances a last year — both earning a spot on the All-FCIAC Girls Basketball Third Team — and coming into the 2017-18 season there is much riding on their shoulders.
But with the talent that the Wreckers have at their disposal, the goals are set sky high, Fair said.
“Arianna is awesome,” she said. “We have some amazing freshman, great captains, we have a great team this year. We’re hoping to get back to where we were last year in the FCIAC and state tournaments and get a win in both.”
Last season, Staples finished 11-8 and made it to the Class LL playoffs for the first time since the 2014-15 season.
But in order to take that extra step and get the postseason win that Fair, Gerig, and company are hungry for, it will take a persistent attitude.
One that the Wreckers have, Gerig said.
“We can be down in the first quarter but that doesn’t mean we stop fighting,” she said. We fight even harder. It shows that we have the strength and the grit to comeback and give it our all.”
And with players like those two, Staples will never really be out of a game until that final horn blows.
ct.com; Twitter: @aronJohnson_