Staples girls basketball standing tall
WESTPORT — The Staples High girls basketball team has stood tall against stiff competition this season.
The Wreckers, who sport an 8-5 overall record and have already clinched a state tournament berth, gave FCIAC power Norwalk fits on Tuesday before falling to the unbeaten Bears 63-53 at SHS.
“We gave Trumbull and Norwalk two of the tougher games they’ve had all year,” Staples head coach Paco Fabian said of the front-runners in the league and the No. 2-ranked team in the GameTimeCT state poll. “For me I’m really confident going into the tournaments this year that I don’t think other teams are going to want to play us and I think we’ll be there in the end.”
Staples only suffered a hard-fought 36-25 loss to the Eagles, and against Norwalk, the Wreckers trailed by seven, 58-51. With a minute and change remaining, the Bears converted a three-point play on a fast-break basket and a free throw to go up by 10 with 1:08 on the clock.
That ultimately sealed the deal for Norwalk.
Fabian said his team’s youth and inexperience rear their ugly heads at times, especially in the first half against Norwalk when the Bears cashed in on turnovers and grabbed a 34-25 lead.
“We’re a little young and we’re learning how to win,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of sophomores, juniors and freshmen playing and we’re learning how to win basketball games right now and hopefully come tournament time instead of losing that game we win that game.”
Leading the way in the loss to Norwalk was sophomore Alva Nordin, who scored 15 points. Sophomore Marley Lopez-Paul chipped in with 12 points, senior captain Elle Fair had 10 and junior Abby Carter added nine.
The Wreckers were without the services of junior Marisa Shorrock, who was out with an injury, but Fabian expects her back soon.
Carter said the team came back strong in the fourth quarter despite trailing.
Fair, the standout multi-sport athlete for the Wreckers, was a key player in Staples getting back in the game and assisted on the basket by Lopez-Paul late in the game to make things uncomfortable for the Bears.
Fair said the team had nothing to lose against the unbeaten Norwalk side.
“We never give up,” said Fair, who plans to play field hockey and lacrosse in college at St. Joseph. “We had three sophomore starters tonight which shows how young our team is and how much developing we still have left to do. We just want to make it into FCIACs and make a run in states.”
Fair went on to say it’s been a tremendous experience leading such a young and talented team this year.
Staples is at Brien McMahon on Friday and is at Westhill on Tuesday. The Wreckers will play four of their last five games at home.
“Our goal is to win every game,” Fabian said. “Hopefully we play our best basketball in the tournament. We’re trying to peak in the tournament this year.”