The Staples High boys basketball team didn't let its flat start carry over into the second half on Thursday.

After trailing Trumbull by as many as eight points in the first half, the Wreckers stormed back with a 14-0 run to start the third quarter and rolled over the Eagles 67-41.

Down 27-25 at halftime, the Wreckers outscored Trumbull 42-14 over the final two quarters to improve to 11-7 (10-6), strengthening their chances of reaching the FCIAC playoffs with two games left.

"We just came out really sluggish. They were beating us at second-chance points," Staples forward Ross Whelan said. "We knew we could beat them. We were down two at half and coach was like `We can't have anymore of this.'"

Staples turned over the ball eight times in the first half, but remained close on the scoreboard with the help of guard James Frusciante, who scored 15 of his game-high 22 points before halftime. Whelan scored 18 points, while swingman Peter Rankowitz added 12 for the Wreckers, who were held to just 43 points in Tuesday's loss at Greenwich.

The Wreckers entered Thursday in sole possession of seventh place -- a game ahead of the Cardinals -- in the conference.

"I just wanted to get off to a quick start," Frusciante said. "I knew we were coming off a loss."

Trumbull (2-16, 1-15) got off to a strong start and took a 17-12 lead after one quarter on the strength of four 3-pointers. The Eagles saw Staples jump ahead for the first time with 3:38 remaining in the first half -- 23-22 on a layup by Rankowitz -- but responded with five straight points.

Staples, however, outscored Trumbull 22-4 in the third quarter and built a 47-31 lead heading into the fourth.

"They kind of put us away in the third quarter -- ran their stuff very well," Trumbull head coach Buddy Bray said. "(Staples coach) Colin (Devine) does a great job with them."

Guard John Watts led Trumbull with 11 points, while Matt Turner and Luke Waldek scored seven points apiece.

Staples stepped up its intensity on defense in the second half and created turnovers, helping fuel its offense. After getting off to a sluggish start on the offensive end, the Wreckers knotted it up 27-27 at the start of the third on a bucket by Rankowitz.

"You've got to credit Trumbull. They controlled the tempo and the pace of play, and really dictated the first half," Staples head coach Colin Devine said. "We really turned up the pressure in the second half, and it led to some easy baskets."

Following a bucket by Turner, which ended Staples' 14-0 run and cut Trumbull's deficit to 37-29, the Wreckers put together a 10-0 run late in the third quarter.

The Wreckers led by at least 14 points through the fourth quarter and ended the night with a 12-2 spurt.; 203-255-4561 ext. 114;


STAPLES (11-7, 10-6)

Jake Melnick 1 0-0 2 James Frusciante 9 2-2 22 Joe Greenwald 0 0-1 0 David Katz 1 0-0 3 Andrew Felman 0 0-0 0 Nick Esposito 4 0-0 8 Darryle Wiggins 1 0-0 2 Ross Whelan 8 0-2 18 Peter Rankowitz 5 2-3 12 Nick Ward 0 0-0 0 Alex Addessi 0 0-0 0. Totals 29 4-7 67.

TRUMBULL (2-16, 1-15)

Jermaine Alston 1 0-0 2 Luke Waldek 3 1-1 7 Kevin Mott 2 0-1 4 Rashard Rodriguez 1 0-0 3 Bill Stickle 1 0-0 2 Ryan McCabe 1 0-0 3 John Watts 3 3-4 11 Matt Turner 3 0-0 7 Frank Puglia 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 4-6 41.

STAPLES 12 13 22 20 -- 67

TRUMBULL 17 10 4 10 -- 41

3-pointers: Frusciante 2, Whelan 2, Katz; T -- Watts 2, Turner, McCabe, Rodriguez.