Staples winter preview: Girls basketball eyes state playoff spot
Updated 7:47 am, Wednesday, December 9, 2015
The Staples girls basketball team will have to replace 85 percent of its scoring if it wants to accomplish the ultimate goal of reaching the state tournament for a second straight season.
The three seniors on the team — Alyssa Perry, Gabby Perry and Talia Hendel — will serve as captains in 2015-2016, and coach Paco Fabian will lean on his experienced trio who have added to their skill sets in the offseason.
"Since we lost so much scoring we're trying to work hard in the preseason to get our girls who haven't had varsity experience ready for the regular season," said Fabian.
Junior guards Rachel Seideman and Olivia Troy will be key contributors to this year’s efforts. Troy is committed to UConn to play lacrosse and came off the bench a year ago to supply offense.
“(Troy is) a great athlete, the hard thing for her is that she doesn’t play a lot of basketball in the offseason so we’re trying to get her up to speed,” Fabian said. “She’s an outstanding athlete and lacrosse player; we’re just trying to get her back into basketball shape.”
“We have 11 girls that are going to play,” Fabian said. “They’re all going to play and whoever is playing best will get the playing time.”
Fabian begins his second season in charge of the Wreckers, who went 9-12 last season. Staples closed with a 7-3 stretch as the players got more comfortable with the new coaching staff, something the returning players hope to build on this winter.”
“It was tough at the beginning of last year because (Fabian) didn’t know us as players,” Alyssa Perry said. “Throughout the season we got better because we started to know him better, and he got to know us better and what our strengths and weakness are. This year having five of those seniors leaving he knows the upcoming girls more.”
The CIAC altered its state tournament format to include 32 teams from each class, which means teams that win less than 40 percent of its games may qualify for the postseason.
The Wreckers have a favorable early-season schedule that includes out-of-conference matchups with Bethel and Manchester, and a strong performance in their first six games may be required given what comes next. Staples has a three-game stretch against tough powers Trumbull, Stamford and Ridgefield in early January, and closes with FCIAC favorite Warde Feb. 17.
“We want to get to that eight wins and see where we go from there,” Fabian said. “We are a different kind of team, we are very small and a work in progress. If we can fight through those first 6 games we’ll have a good chance to make states.”
Staples starts the season Dec. 15 at home against Bassick.