Added weapons propel Lady Wreckers past NC
Updated 12:34 am, Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Finding third and fourth scoring options couldn't have come at a better time for the Staples girls basketball team.
They came in handy for Staples Thursday when junior Nikki Bukovsky and senior captain Remy Nolan scored 19 and 12, respectively, in a 62-56 home victory over New Canaan. The win raised its record to 7-3. New Canaan dropped to 7-4.
The Lady Wreckers are mostly renowned for their defense, and have relied on senior captain Jessica Coelho and junior Erica Stein to carry their scoring load for most of the year.
Bukovsky (three rebounds, six assists, two steals, two forced turnovers) started to come alive offensively after Christmas and most of her points came in the clutch.
"We knew the entire team had to step it up and it was a huge game to keep it going," Bukovsky said. "We really needed to win this game and worked together. I've been working on my shots lately."
Nolan (two assists, three steals, three forced turnovers), has been a backbone to the press all year with many steals and forced turnovers, gave the hosts a cushion in the second quarter by connecting for three 3-pointers. Nolan's treys turned a 13-9 lead after one quarter into a 28-13 advantage.
"I can't say enough about Remy, her three bombs were huge and her point production was big," Staples coach Ed Huydic said. "Every point mattered in this game. This was like a playoff game tonight. Bukovsky has been building towards a night like tonight. Having four scorers means that our opponents can't just key on Coelho and Stein."
Nolan said, "I don't think it's anything different from the other days. I just saw the open look, took it, and this time, it went in."
After making her first trey, Nolan felt buoyed and kept firing away. She hopes to carry this into future games.
"It gave me more confidence to shoot and hopefully, I'll knock them down," Nolan said.
Although the Lady Wreckers may have been in command, it wasn't going to be easy for them. That's because they were facing Lady Ram senior captain Sarah Mannelly (27 points, six assists, six steals, five rebounds), who makes things happen. Mannelly set up junior Georgia Hunsinger's jumper and followed a Hunsinger steal by swishing an off-balance trey, which made it 28-18.
"Turnovers was a factor," Lady Rams coach Kim Palmer said. "We were careless with the ball, and it's something we work on. Give Staples credit because they forced turnovers with their press and had good shooting."
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Nolan said, "We focused on Mannelly, and the other shooting guard and it worked out well."
New Canaan started to show signs of life in the second half and cut it to six, 35-29, when junior Courtney Rogers drained a 3-pointer. However, Bukovsky immediately answered with a trifecta. Stein (15 points, one rebound, two assists, two steals, two forced turnovers) then hit her second trey of the night to make it 41-31.
"The unforced turnovers made it interesting, but the game was never in doubt," Huydic said. "We did what we needed to do when they threatened."
Coelho (16 points, two assists, two steals, one blocked shot, two forced turnovers) ruled the glass with 17 rebounds.
"They are a strong team and I'm happy we were able to pull it out," Coelho said. "I knew the key to the game was to make sure they had only one shot and I had to grab the rebounds. We had to make guarding Sarah and Courtney a priority and get a hand in their faces."
Senior Sydney Houseworth (four rebounds, one forced turnover) grabbed a few big rebounds down the stretch for Staples. Sophomore Sophe de Bruijn (two rebounds, one steal), and freshmen Maggie Fair (two rebounds, one forced turnover) Maddie Schemel (one blocked shot) came off the bench and helped.
The Lady Rams closed out the game with a 9-2 run, but it was too little, too late, for them.
"This was like a playoff game," Huydic said. "We knew Mannelly would put up her number and we had to be in the 50s. I'm thrilled with the team's performance. Remy carried us in the second quarter and Bukovsky carried us in the third. I like this team and hope to duplicate this performance."