Staples boys basketball upsets Stamford, moves to 2-0
In a season when no one knows who the possible contenders figure to be, the Staples boys basketball team emerged as a possible FCIAC sleeper on Monday night.
Building an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Wreckers survived a furious fight back from Stamford (2-1) to come away with a 66-59 win in their home-opener. Staples improved to 2-0 after defeating Ludlowe last Friday.
"We don't underestimate anyone," Wreckers senior Nick Esposito said. "I think we were flying under the radar at the beginning of the season, this is a big statement game for us and we're going to keep at it."
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The Wreckers hit 10 3-pointers, many of which were uncontested through excellent ball movement. Justin Seideman had nine points and nine assists for the Wreckers. Connor Whelan and Ben Casparius each hit four triples and had 16 points.
"We had a balanced scoring attack tonight like we did (in a 52-49 win) against Ludlowe," Staples coach Colin Devine said. "It's really our team defensive end, our team defense that got us through this game tonight."
The Black Knights applied heavy pressure and closed the 18-point deficit to four in the space of four-and-a-half minutes. The once-calm ball movement by the Wreckers deteriorated into various types of turnovers that gave Stamford easy layups at the other end.
"We started to play," Stamford coach Danny Metzer said. "You can't decide to show up to a game and decide to start playing when you're down 18. We just stepped up our intensity; unfortunately when you're down 18 it's too late by then."
Stamford held possession trailing 61-57 with two minutes to play, but Esposito (12 points) stole a pass and covered a 3-point play to give Staples a cushion.
"We knew they ran that motion set with (Askew) popping out," Esposito said. "My coach told me to try to pop out and maybe get a quick steal."
The Wreckers used a strong second quarter to build a double-digit lead that they would enjoy for most of the game. 3-pointers by Casparius and Harry Kohn gave Staples a 27-16 lead late in the second quarter, and the lead would stay between nine and 14 points before the Wreckers attempted to put the game out of reach.
"I don't think we have any All-Star players, so we really move the ball well and look for everyone to contribute and get points," Esposito said.
Staples survived a strong night from Gianni Carwin, who had 24 points for the Black Knights. Carwin had a pair of layups during the 14-2 run that gave Stamford hope of an improbable comeback.
Stamford missed a pair of layups down the stretch and the Wreckers made a pair of free throws to seal the win.
"That's a product of one team being ready to play and one team not being ready to play," Melzer said. "A lot of credit to Staples, they completely outplayed us tonight."
Staples 66, Stamford 59
James Gronberg 6 4-6 16 Jay Devito 3 0-0 7 Kweshon Askew 4 2-2 10 Yancarlos Marte 1 0-0 2 Gianni Carwin 12 0-0 24. Totals: 26 6-8 59.
STAMFORD 12 10 19 18--59
STAPLES 16 18 19 13--66
3-pointers: Stamford--Devito; Staples--Whelan 4, Casparius 4, Seideman, Kohn.