Sharpshooting Wreckers improve to 3-0
The Staples boys basketball team used a formula of perimeter shooting and a feisty defense to pull out close victories in its first two games.
On Saturday afternoon, Harry Kohn and Ben Casparius stole the show and delivered a one-two punch to send Staples to another win -- this one a little more comfortable.
Kohn (27 points) and Casparius (21) combined for 48 points -- including 10 3-pointers -- as the Wreckers defeated Newtown 76-67 in the Wilton Holiday Tournament at Wilton High School. Staples played Wilton in the final on Monday while Newtown battled Kolbe Cathedral in the consolation game.
The Wreckers, who have hit 27 3-pointers so far this season, are off to a 3-0 start.
"We shot the ball extremely well, but again it was our team defense tonight," Wreckers coach Colin Devine said. "Throughout the game, we had some lulls where we didn't get out on some shooters, but in the end defense got us through."
Kohn scored 13 points in the final quarter, including three triples in the space of two minutes early in the period that increased the Wreckers lead to 58-46.
"(Kohn) did a great job on both ends of the floor," Devine said. "He did everything well -- he was an extra ball handler, he made some shots down the stretch for us, he played great defense and came down with big rebounds."
An early-season theme -- precise ball movement leading to quality shots from the perimeter -- played out early for Staples. Newtown held firm into the second quarter and trailed 27-24 with 2:27 left in the opening half, but a pair of 3-pointers by Casparius gave the Wreckers a 35-26 halftime lead.
The lead would remain larger than seven for the entire second half, with every Newtown run answered by a big shot by Staples. After a 3-point play by Newtown's Charlie Huegi to pull to within 41-34 with three minutes left in the third quarter, the Wreckers went on an 11-2 run to pull away.
"(The shots) ended our momentum," Newtown coach Tim Tallcouch said. "They did a nice job, they have a good team."
Will Dalton led the Nighthawks with 19 points, while Huegi had 17.
The Wreckers survived foul trouble to prevail. Center Nick Esposito and guard Justin Seideman were each saddled with four fouls, which forced Staples to adjust. Newtown went 16-for-20 at the charity stripe to stay close, but the Wreckers bench stepped up to maintain the lead.
Tallcouch was satisfied with his team's performance, but pointed out a pair of areas that cost the Nighthawks a chance at victory.
"Give credit to Staples, they scored every time they had the ball out of bounds," Tallcouch said. "Eleven points in a nine-point game. And we didn't do a great job closing on their (3-point shooters)."