A never-say-die attitude sparked the Staples girls basketball team to victory Wednesday.

Despite trailing 43-36 at a quality Norwalk team with 3:09 remaining, Staples showed resolve and pulled out a 50-47 victory against a team that was considered to be an early-season test. The Lady Wreckers raised their record to 3-0, and Norwalk dropped to 0-2.

"It's the start of a huge three-game run," said Staples coach Ed Huydic, who was also referring to upcoming home games against Stamford (tonight, Friday, Dec. 16) and Trinity Catholic (Tuesday). "To come back on the road with a win is impressive. We proved to be a gamer. Most teams wouldn't have had this resolve."

Norwalk built its lead behind senior tri-captains Zayna Fulton (six points, five rebounds, six assists, one steal) and Alexis Noonan (18 points, two blocked shots) with the former setting the latter up for the layup.

The Lady Wreckers played aggressively down the stretch, hit clutch shots and were helped by senior Sydney Houseworth's (two points, 11 rebounds, one assist, two forced turnovers) relentless play on the boards. Houseworth kept the play alive by grabbing an offensive rebound. This led to Staples junior guard Erica Stein swishing a trey off senior captain Jessica Coelho's screen.

"I knew I had to keep shooting like I did in the first half," Stein said. "It came to me, and I felt I had to take it. The tone of the game shifted on this shot."

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Coelho grabbed an offensive rebound on the subsequent possession, which led to senior captain Remy Nolan (eight points, four rebounds, three assists, five steals, two forced turnovers) feeding junior Nikki Bukovsky (six points, five rebounds, two assists) for a layup.

Lady Bear junior Emma Oyomba (six points, seven rebounds, one blocked shot) temporarily stopped the bleeding with a putback, but Nolan answered by hitting a 3 from Bukovsky off an inbounds play.

"We had to stay positive, be aggressive on defense and knock down our shots," Nolan said. "Defense has always been a priority, and you have to play defense to win games."

Houseworth then knocked the ball off of Oyomba to force a turnover. Coelho (11 points, six rebounds, one assist, two steals, one blocked shot, one tie up) then hit a layup from Nolan and drew the foul for a conventional 3-point play to give Staples a 47-45 lead with 1:11 left.

"I knew I wasn't making my shots inside and I wanted to win badly," Coelho said. "I knew I had to go in no matter what."

Huydic said, "The two 3s were huge, coupled with the two takes to the basket by Bukovsky and Coelho. This sequence came at the right time."

Norwalk senior tri-captain Katie Schmidt tried to tie it with a layup but Coelho forced her to put up a poor shot and Nolan grabbed the defensive rebound. Nolan iced the game for the Lady Wreckers by going 3-4 at the foul line down the stretch.

"Every day in practice, we focus on free throws and it paid off in the end," Nolan said.

Before the Lady Wreckers rallied, this game was a little helter-skelter with Norwalk and Staples committing 24 and 22 turnovers, respectively. Overall, there were four ties and six lead changes.

The Lady Bears led 9-1 in the early going before Stein (19 points, three assists, five forced turnovers) rallied Staples back by scoring eight straight points to give the Lady Wreckers an 11-9 lead.

Staples led 22-20 at the half and built its lead to 28-22 before the Lady Bears started to come back behind sophomore Erica Cohens' (13 points, six rebounds, one assist, two steals) two layups.

Freshman Maggie Fair was a defensive sparkplug off the bench for the Lady Wreckers by forcing four turnovers. Fair (two points, one rebound, two assists, one steal) also set up many opportunities. Sophomore Sophie de Bruijn (two points, one block, one steal), freshman Maddie Schemel (one rebound, one steal) and junior Ali April also contributed for Staples.

"There were ups and downs in the game," Coelho said. "The momentum continued to shift but we had longer momentum. Everyone played amazing."