Staples trips up Trinity Catholic
WESTPORT -- In the closing seconds of its regular season finale last season, the Trinity Catholic girls basketball team defeated Staples to clinch an FCIAC playoff berth.
That Trinity Catholic win knocked Staples out of the league playoffs.
Staples made up for the loss in Friday's season opener for both teams with a 58-48 win over Trinity Catholic.
If the Wreckers made a statement in the game, it's that they will be an aggressive unit that will come out of the gate quickly.
Staples took a 23-6 lead after one quarter and led 35-14 at the half before the Crusaders clawed their way back into the game.
With a team that lacks significant height and does not have a superstar, the Wreckers used a lot of three- and four-guard sets and played defense persistently.
But Staples also passed the ball well and had success with its outside shooting.
"It's going to be all about pressure and transition and shooting the basketball," said Staples head coach Ed Huydic. "There's no secret. That's our game."
In the preseason, Huydic said his team worked on its pressure defense and its transition game, as well as its shooting touch. And all that came into fruition against the Crusaders, Huydic said.
But clearly Staples showed some weakness. One of those weaknesses, Huydic admitted, was its rebounding.
While the Wreckers don't have the height to compete with many teams in the FCIAC, Staples makes up for it by fighting for loose balls.
"Every single player that comes on this court has an aggressive bone in her body," senior guard Chelsea Salamone said. "That really helps because we go after the ball whenever we can go after it."
Salamone was moved to the point so the team could take advantage of senior guard Suvi Puritparrapan's outside shooting and not have her burdened with those duties.
As a result, Salamone responded with a game-high 20-points.
"When you distribute the ball, you're going to get it back quite often and get an open look," Huydic said. "And that's exactly what Salamone did. It's a great start for her senior year."
After getting off to a fast start, Salamone said the team was surprised and how strong they were as a team. With all-FCIAC forward Eliza Howe off to college, Salamone said the team wasn't completely sure it could play as well.
But the team had gelled early, in part to Howe's prior service.
"A lot of teams talk about their chemistry, but that is something we bring forth. We work really hard on working together," Salamone said. "We don't necessarily have the height, or a bunch of individuals who stand out, but I think our chemistry works well."
While Staples came out on fire, Trinity Catholic started off flat. But its fourth-quarter scoring surge accounted for half its points on the night.
"They were hot, and we just had the deer-in-the-headlight look," Trinity Catholic coach Tom Kriz said. "First games are tough. I went out and scouted a lot of first games this week, and a lot of them are ugly. We'll be better."
Though it had the height advantage and outrebounded the Wreckers, the Crusaders didn't finish off its offensive rebounds when it had second chances.
The team did have some success infusing some freshmen. Guard Jovan Kingwood scored late in the game and had some success on defense in the first half. And Ali Palma had a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth-quarter run.
"There are 19 games to go, we're not going to worry yet," Kriz said.
TRINITY CATHOLIC (0-1)
Lauren Hurd 0 0-0 0 Kelley McInerney 0 0-0 0 Erin Sottosanti 1 0-0 3 Grace Telesco 0 0-0 0 Claire O'Leary 0 3-8 3 Caitlin Ornousky 0 0-0 0 Jovan Kingwood 1 0-0 2 Leila Baden 1 0-1 2 Ali Palma 2 4-4 10 Cayleigh Gri ffin 2 2-2 6 Eileen Ornousky 3 3-6 9 Sarah Rivera 0 0-0 0 Kelly Anderson 2 2-2 6 Mackenzie Griffin 1 5-8 7. Totals: 14 19-35 48.
Nichole Brill 2 0-0 4 Jess Coelho 0 2-2 2 Remy Nolan 0 0-0 0 Chelsea Salamone 8 2-3 20 Suvi Puritparrapan 5 2-2 15 M.K. Vansant 0 0-2 0 Lauren Romano 0 0-0 0 Tory Dodge 0 0-0 0 Caroline Accardi 2 0-0 4 Jaclyn Katz 6 0-0 13. Totals: 23 6-9 58.
TRINITY CATHOLIC 6 8 10 24 -- 48
STAPLES 23 12 13 10 -- 58
3-pointers: TC -- Palma 2, Sottosanti. S -- Puritparrapan 3, Salamone 3, Katz.