Lady Wreckers survive to edge Greenwich
Published 2:22 am, Wednesday, February 15, 2012
A 19-0 lead after one quarter isn't always insurmountable.
This was a lesson the Staples girls basketball team learned the hard way at Greenwich Monday. Although Staples played strong defense, and made a few shots to take the aforementioned lead, it trailed in the fourth quarter before pulling out a 50-47 victory.
The Lady Wreckers raised their record to 11-8. Greenwich dropped to 4-15.
"This Greenwich team is much better than its record shows," Staples coach Ed Huydic said. "Coaches and scouts have told me that. There was a lot of pressure on us and we adjusted. They made a ton of 3-pointers and had us on the ropes."
In the first quarter, it didn't look like the Lady Cardinals would have the Lady Wreckers on the ropes. Staples senior captain Jessica Coelho grabbed six of her game-high 15 rebounds in the quarter and made two free throws after grabbing an offensive rebound.
"I knew getting rebounds was crucial," Coelho said. "Getting second shots for ourselves and not allowing Greenwich second shots, was important."
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Junior Nikki Bukovsky had eight points in the first quarter to stake the Lady Wreckers to their lead. Bukovsky (three rebounds, one assist) was the game's high-scorer with 20 points.
"As a team, we work on our shooting form, and we look for the wide open shot," Bukovsky said.
Senior captain Remy Nolan (five points, two rebounds, one tieup) and junior Erica Stein deftly set up Bukovsky for layups and had five and three assists, respectively.
Nolan spearheaded the defense, which led to transition opportunities, leading Staples with five steals and five forced turnovers. She played a major role in forcing 12 Lady Cardinal, turnovers in the first half.
Stein (eight rebounds, one steal, four forced turnovers) scored all nine of her points on three 3-pointers. Her first trey helped the Lady Wreckers find their shooting groove.
Coelho played a major role on defense with four steals, four forced turnovers and a tieup. She was also an intimidator inside with three blocked shots.
Greenwich started to find its range in the second quarter, but Staples was equal to the task and maintained its 19-point lead at the half, 30-11 at the half.
Once the Lady Cardinals started to pick it up on defense, they rejected shots, got rebounds and forced turnovers, which ultimately led to their 45-42 lead with 3:03 remaining in the game. Lady Cardinal junior Jenny Cespedes was a thief on defense and went in for a layup after stealing it from midcourt, which made it a single-digit game, 37-29, with 1:58 left in the third quarter. Greenwich senior captain Tori Carr was an inside force with 13 rebounds and two blocked shots.
The Lady Cardinals forced 15 turnovers in the second half and committed eight. This was a far cry from the first half when Staples committed only five turnovers.
Junior captain Caroline Barrett's putback off the offensive glass pulled Greenwich within six after three quarters, 37-31. Barrett was especially lethal from outside with four 3-pointers. Her trey off a feed from senior Erica Ambrogio gave Greenwich its first lead, 43-42, with 3:39 to go.
However, the Lady Wreckers were also stout on defense and eventually regained the lead, 46-45 with 30.2 seconds left on Coelho's turnaround jumper.
"Jessica wanted the ball in pressure situations," Huydic said.
Cespedes, who had a steal that led to a layup that made it 45-42, hit the go-ahead layup to make it 47-46.
Bukovsky immediately countered with a layup to give Staples the lead for good.
"We worked for the open shot, they left me wide open lane, and I took it," Bukovsky said.
After giving the Lady Wreckers the lead, Bukovsky (four steals, one blocked shot, one forced turnover) followed up with a steal.
"We really needed this win, and left it all on the court," Bukovsky said. "We needed to step it up, I saw their pressure break, and went for the ball."
Coelho (14 points, one assist) then hit two free throws with 0.6 seconds to go.
"The free throws iced the game," Coelho said. "I knew I wanted the ball, and I had to make my shots. They definitely played their hearts out and had high energy. We couldn't break through until the end."
Sophomore Sophie de Bruijn (two points, five rebounds, one steal, two forced turnovers) did well rebounding. Freshman Maddie Schemel (two rebounds, one blocked shot) and sophomore Natasha George (two rebounds, one assist) contributed off the bench.
"We survived on will and strength," Huydic said. "We weren't going to be denied."