New Canaan girls slip by Staples in offensive struggle
NEW CANAAN -- Staples High girls basketball coach Ed Huydic has been waiting all season for his team to make its run on offense.
The Wreckers, however, seem to be stuck in neutral.
Unable to find any rhythm on offense Friday, the Wreckers were held to just eight field goals and suffered a 26-23 loss to New Canaan.
"We kept looking for one spark, one spark," Huydic said, "and never got it."
New Canaan (6-7) had its own struggles on offense, hitting only 10 shots, but fended off its equally cold-shooting opponent. The Rams led 23-18 after three quarters and scored only three points in the fourth.
Rams senior forward Kelly Armstrong led all scorers with 10 points.
"Usually defense brings the offense, but this time it just didn't really happen," Armstrong said. "The shots weren't really dropping, we couldn't get open."
Staples had an opportunity to tie trailing 25-23 with 30 seconds left, as guard Allison April stole an inbounds pass. But on the Wreckers' ensuing offensive possession, Nikki Bukovksy's shot rimmed out with 12 seconds left.
After forward Colette Pellegrini connected on the front end of a 1-and-1 at the charity stripe, putting New Canaan up three with eight seconds left, she missed the second free throw. Armstrong, however, snagged the offensive rebound.
"Offensively it was a struggle for both teams tonight, but the girls fought hard," said New Canaan coach Kim Palmer, whose team snapped a three-game losing streak.
With the Rams playing a man defense throughout the evening, Staples got plenty of clean looks at the basket, but failed to find consistent scoring. The Wreckers were held to just 13 points in the second half on four field goals.
Bukovsky and forward Madeline Schemel scored eight points apiece to lead Staples (4-8), which lost for the seventh time in eight games.
"You can't make eight field goals in girls basketball and have 51 shots," Huydic said. "I'd have to say, out of those 51, maybe two or three were actually forced."
New Canaan took its largest lead of the game, 18-12, midway through the third quarter, but Staples responded with a 6-0 spurt to tie it. Following a pair of free throws by Bukovsky to make it 18-18, the Rams went on a 5-0 run to close the quarter. Senior guard Brianna McEwan hit a 3-pointer to make it 21-18, and Armstrong followed with a layup off an offensive rebound.
For a team that struggled all evening to muster together offense, the five-point deficit loomed large for Staples.
"Those were huge points," Huydic said. "Very big points as the game turns out. That's the way the game goes. Unfortunately this crew has not been blessed with self-manufactured breaks that work."
Staples was held scoreless for the first 6:13, notching its first points on a bucket by Schemel to cut New Canaan's lead to 3-2. The Rams led 6-5 after one quarter.
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NEW CANAAN 26, STAPLES 23
Margaret Fair 0 0-0 0 Allison April 1 1-2 3 Fallon Battone 0 0-0 0 Abigail Lustig 1 1-2 3 Dayna Gelman 0 0-0 0 Madeline Schemel 4 0-2 8 Nicole Bukovsky 2 4-6 8 Sophie deBruijn 0 0-0 0 Erica Stein 0 1-2 1. Totals 8 7-14 23.
NEW CANAAN (6-7)
Marina Braccio 0 0-0 0 Elizabeth Miller 1 0-0 3 Colette Pellegrini 0 1-2 1 Lindsay Seelert 0 0-0 0 Brianna McEwan 2 0-0 6 Courtney Rogers 1 0-0 3 Page Jones 0 0-0 0 Georgia Hunsinger 1 1-2 3 Ali Reilly 0 0-0 0 Kelly Armstrong 5 0-1 10 Devin Selvala 0 0-0 0 Meghan Selvaggi 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 2-5 26.
STAPLES 5 5 8 5 -- 23
NEW CANAAN 6 7 10 3 -- 26
3-pointers: NC --McEwan 2, Miller, Rogers.