Lady Wreckers trounce McMahon
Once the Staples girls basketball team got going in its season-opener Wednesday, it was unstoppable.
Staples used its patented press-defense well, which it's renowned for under longtime coach Ed Huydic, and overcame deficits of 6-2 and 8-3 in the first quarter in a 62-29 home victory over Brien McMahon.
"There was a very good flow tonight and had some sustained runs," Huydic said. "We took advantage of a young, inexperienced McMahon team, and we were in a grind mode all night."
The Lady Wreckers parlayed their pressure defense into forcing 47 turnovers while coming up with 31 steals. They made it look easy with senior captain Remy Nolan and junior Erica Stein bottling up McMahon's players.
"We keep our heads up high, stay low and play aggressive on defense," Nolan said.
Stein said, "I had to be aggressive, and we knew our defense had to step it up."
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Staples led 16-10 after one quarter and extended its lead to 13 at the break, 34-21. Stein (23 points, two rebounds, one assist, three steals) was instrumental in the Lady Wreckers breaking away by draining three of her five 3-pointers in the second quarter.
"I was working a lot on my shot," Stein said. "We were down in the first quarter, and I knew I had to step it up."
One of the biggest recipients of the press was senior captain Jessica Coelho. The center Coelho came up with six steals, mostly on balls the Lady Senators either fumbled or threw into her clutches because they were harassed by Nolan (one point, two rebounds, three assists, six steals) and Stein.
"As the last person in the back, I see what's going on and it's easy to anticipate where the pass is going," Coelho said.
Junior Nikki Bukovsky (11 points, four rebounds, six steals, three assists) also benefited from Nolan's and Stein's harassing McMahon's ballhanders. Bukovsky had easy steals and also did her share of bottling up the Lady Senators. She also hit a trey.
Coelho (13 points, 12 rebounds, four assists), who missed most of last year with a knee injury, gave the Lady Wreckers a much-needed presence inside.
"I'm really excited," Coelho said. "It's a great way to start off the season and gets me amped up for everything."
Huydic said, "It's a lift for everyone to have her back and it's a joy to be coaching her."
Complementing Coelho inside was senior assistant captain Sydney Houseworth. Houseworth (seven points, 11 rebounds, one assist, one steal) grabbed almost every rebound in her sight and was aggressive inside.
Huydic used his bench a lot, and freshman center Madeline Schemel (two points, six rebounds) showed her aggressiveness on the court. Schemel tipped a few balls which enabled teammates to grab rebounds.
Freshman Maggie Fair (two points, four rebounds, two steals, one assist) showed she'll be a force as well. Junior Ali April (three rebounds, one assist) drew a charge in the waning moments. Sophomore Sophie de Bruijn (two points, two rebounds, four steals) came up big on defense and classmate Dayna Gelman (one point, one rebound) also contributed.
"I like how we got shots off of the transition, and it was good to see Jess out there," Huydic said. "I hope to see it until mid March. Transition basketball is where Erica is at her best. I tried to give our bench quality time because they will determine games late in the season. It was a very successful night and a nice opener."
Nolan said, "McMahon is an aggressive team and it's a big win for us."
Coelho said, "This helps us get mentally focused for a long season. McMahon is a fast team and we need this kind of flow at the end of the year."