For one night, the performance matched the hype.

Billed as an FCIAC playoff contender around league circles, the Staples High boys basketball team was close to flawless in its opener--a 73-49 rout of Brien McMahon.

Staples' senior backcourt of Peter Rankowitz and James Frusciante led the charge from the start, hitting a pair of buckets to open with a 6-0 run. Rankowitz--an all-FCIAC second team selection as a junior--dropped in eight of his game-high 23 points in the first quarter alone.

The Wreckers' guard tandem combined for 23 points in the first half--41 for the game--and showed they're capable of making the Wreckers a pretty potent team.

"With the team that we have, led by our seniors, we try to push the ball up the floor," Staples head coach Colin Devine said. "If not, (we) pull it out and get a better one."

With scoring options all over the floor on offense, Staples matched last season's average scoring output in just three quarters. Rankowitz's 3-pointer in the final seconds of the third pushed Staples' commanding lead to 55-34.

If the opener is any indication, the Wreckers will pose plenty of matchup problems for their opponents. Four different players hit double figures in points from all areas of the floor. Their guards knocked down 3-pointers and drove to the basket. Their forwards stepped behind the arc for an occassional trey and controlled the paint.

Rankowitz, Frusciante, Darryle Wiggins and Connor Whelan--the latter two starters in the frontcourt--combined for 64 points. It's hard to expect much more.

"I think we've got a little more depth this year," Rankowitz said. "We're really just working hard in practice on both ends of the floor."

Staples will face plenty of tougher competition down the line, beginning with Tuesday's visit to Norwalk. The Bears, like the Wreckers, hovered around .500 for most of last season before finishing on the outside of the FCIAC playoff picture with a 10-11 record. Both teams are now looking to reverse those fortunes.

Devine believes that defense will be key to playing winning basketball in the weeks ahead. The Wreckers were stringent defensively on Wednesday, holding McMahon to only 17 points in the first half.

"We've just got to keep playing good team defense," Devine said, "and taking care of the ball."

For one night, the Wreckers showed that they can be quite dangerous when doing so.; 203-255-4561 ext. 114;