Staples beats Weston in tourney opener
Down 18-15 after one quarter of play, the Staples boys basketball team reeled off 14 unanswered points to seize control en route to a 60-50 win over Weston in the opening round of the Staples Holiday Tournament on Monday.
Weston, potent on offense in a back-and-forth first quarter, was held without a field goal and to only three points on free throws in the game-changing second quarter. The Wreckers grabbed a 29-18 lead before the visiting Trojans finally scored in the second quarter -- on a pair of Dennis Levene free throws with 1:37 to play before halftime. The Wreckers led 31-21 at the break and went on to get their first win of the campaign.
"I think the kids just continue to work hard and get better every day at practice," said Staples coach Colin Devine, adding that the objective is for the team to be at the top of its game by the end of the season.
Statistically, the second quarter -- in which the Wreckers outscored the Trojans a whopping 17-3 -- was the difference in this game, but Weston coach Ryan Errico said the outcome of this contest came down to the overall effort.
"The difference was they wanted it more than we did," Errico said. "I thought we just played bad in every aspect of the game."
The Trojans got their first taste of defeat following a 2-0 start. And Staples earned its first win after a tough 0-3 start, including a hard-to-swallow 41-40 setback to Brien McMahon on Dec. 22.
Weston's Justin Mettel had a buzzer-beating lay-in for a three-point lead after one quarter and the Trojans inbounded with a chance to add to the lead as the second stanza got underway. But Wrecker Jake Felman drew a charge on Weston and the Wreckers began their scoring run. Brendan Rankowitz hit one of two free throws to make it 18-16, Grant Fenton later had a tip-in to tie the game and Luke Yeager scored off of a turnover for the lead. Felman then drew another charge with solid defensive positioning near the basket. Dan Scanlon cashed in with a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession and the Wreckers were on their way.
"They outplayed us in every aspect of the game tonight," Ericco said.
In the first quarter the game had the feel of one that might go down to the wire. Yeager hit a pair of 3-pointers and teammate Gabe Seidman had a strong presence down low as he scored seven first-quarter points. Weston's Cole Roseman sank two first-quarter 3-pointers and scored 13 opening-quarter points. Mettel also sank a shot from behind the arc as the Trojans were able to match the Wreckers' intensity early on.
In the second quarter, the Wreckers seemed to clamp down defensively and the Trojans couldn't bust through the Wreckers' pressing defense as the feel of the game changed.
Seidman led the way with 29 points and Yeager had 12 for the Wreckers.
Staples took on Ridgefield last night in the championship game and Weston played Newtown yesterday in the consolation game after press time.