Staples stuns Danbury with 4-point play
Trailing by three points with time winding down, the Staples boys basketball team ran a play for guard David Katz, hoping the senior would knock down a game-tying 3-pointer for his team.
He managed to do more than that.
Katz, who sank the 3-point shot and was fouled, converted a 4-point play with 8.9 seconds left in the game, sending Staples past Danbury 42-38 on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.
"(The Hatters) were playing a tight zone and we wanted David to take the shot," Wreckers coach Colin Devine said. And he got fouled. It was spectacular."
Danbury appeared to have wrapped up the win after taking possession with a 38-35 lead and 50 seconds left on the clock. The Hatters ran about half the remaining time off the clock before Staples forced a turnover that set the stage for Katz's, heroics.
"We were right there where we wanted to be," Danbury coach Casey Bock said. 30 seconds left up three, I thought we made some bad decisions. (Katz) hit a tough shot in the corner and unfortunately we fouled him too."
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The Hatters took possession trailing by a point after the 4-point play, but the Wreckers forced another turnover and Katz sank three free throws to clinch the win.
"I thought we could have moved the ball a little bit better," Bock said. "I thought we settled; it was a tough loss."
CJ White scored 20 points for Danbury, including a layup with a minute left to extend the lead to 38-35. Katz led Staples with 16 points.
In typical opening night fashion, both teams failed to find their offensive rhythm for most of the contest. Neither team led by more than five points. The Hatters went 3-of-17 from downtown.
"We don't get a lot of time to prepare for the season," Devine said. "The snow has been crazy so we're missing two or three practices. You have to credit both teams' defense as well in shutting down (Katz) and (White)."
Danbury, which went scoreless in the first five minutes of the second half, got into foul trouble during the third quarter. The Wreckers capitalized, scoring seven of their 11 points in the period from the charity stripe. The Hatters committed their 10th team foul early in the fourth quarter, but didn't foul again until Katz's final shot.
"It just gave (Staples) shots," Bock said. Free throws hurt us a little bit; bad fouls away from the basket that we have to get away from."
Nic Esposito scored nine points and Darryle Wiggins added eight points, six rebounds and two blocks for the Wreckers. The teams went back-and-forth during the fourth quarter that saw the lead change hands six times.
"It was a total team win," Devine said. "We made shots in big spots. We kept responding; we got down and kept fight for a win. It's great."