Staples girls basketball routs Danbury
A surprising loss to New Canaan last Friday pushed the Staples girls basketball team to the brink in terms of qualifying for the Class LL tournament -- something that from day one remained the goal of the season after missing it the previous two.
The senior-laden starting lineup regrouped and delivered the team's best performance of the season at just the right time.
Seniors Abby Lustig (19 points), Madeline Schemel (15) and Tessa Mall (11) combined for 45 points, delivering the Wreckers a 58-37 win over Danbury on Tuesday night. At 6-11, Staples needs two wins from its final three games to qualify for the state playoffs.
"The second half was the best we've played all year," Wreckers coach Paco Fabian said. "Everything kind of clicked. We had a horrible night Friday and we got together as team and they just said they weren't going to be denied anymore."
An offense that's struggled to score this winter caught fire in the second and third quarters. Shots were falling down, ball movement was crisp and turnovers led to easy baskets.
"Today was the first day we really played as a team," Lustig said. "It's become individual play; taking shots when we're open. This time we made the extra pass; we valued the assist more than our own shots."
The Wreckers applied full-court pressure for long spurts, and held Hatters' top threat Allie Smith to 10 points. Staples outscored the visitors 12-0 in the final 3:45 to seal the victory.
"We played really good defense, we knew where (Danbury's) key players were," Lustig said. "We knew (Smith) was going to be a key player and tried to stop her from going baseline. We made sure to get in their faces."
A slow start by both teams had Danbury on top 8-5 after the opening period. A jumper by Andreah Orr gave the Hatters a 10-5 lead early in the second period before the Wreckers offense woke up.
Mall scored six quick points to erase the lead and the teams would remain close until halftime.
Leading 24-21 at the break, Staples opened the third quarter with a 9-2 run that was capped by a 3-point play by Mall. Lustig scored 11 points in the period as the Wreckers led 44-31 going into the final eight minutes.
The defeat for the Hatters (8-9) all but ends their hopes of reaching the FCIAC playoffs after winning the previous three championships.
Staples 58, Danbury 37
DANBURY (8-9, 7-8 FCIAC)
Lauren Guiry 1 0-0 2; Allie Smith 4 2-3 10; Andreah Orr 1 0-0 2; Chloe Hennig 1 0-0 2; Brianna Rosario 1 0-0 2; Zoe Coleman 6 2-5 14; Emily Broggy 2 0-0 5. Totals: 16 4-8 37.
STAPLES (6-11, 5-10 FCIAC)
DANBURY 8 13 10 6 -- 37
STAPLES 5 19 20 14 -- 58
3-pointers: D--Broggy; S--Lustig.