Wreckers squander lead, rally to beat St. Joseph
WESTPORT -- The Staples boys basketball team had a 15-point, first quarter lead wither away over the final three, and found itself trailing by three points with time quickly running out in regulation.
Fortunately for the Wreckers, burying triples is one of their strong suits.
Ben Casparius scored 27 points as Staples prevailed 67-59 over the Cadets in overtime. Sean Pritchett hit a 3-pointer with 46 seconds left that tied the game at 51 and forced the extra session.
"We got some stops down the stretch when we needed to," Staples coach Colin Devine said. "We got some big rebounds down the stretch. St. Joseph did a great job on all our guys and took us out of our rhythm. We took a punch and got the job done at the end."
Staples' Justin Seideman and St. Joseph's Omar Telfer exchanged free throws in the final 30 seconds to force overtime, which the Wreckers outscored the visitors 14-7.
"We had two plays," Devine said of the game-tying shot. "Pritchett was the trail man and he just stuck a three. We were really going to go for two to be honest."
St. Joseph scored the opening bucket in overtime, but the Wreckers scored six of the next eight to take a 60-56 lead with a minute remaining. Seideman went 5-for-6 from the line down the stretch to seal the win as the Cadets came up empty on the other end of the court.
The Cadets went 11-for-21 from the foul line in regulation.
"To be able to dig out and make it an overtime game in that sense I think it's a good victory on our part," St. Joseph coach Chris Watts said. "To be able to fight back into a game; but we have to make foul shots.
The Wreckers held a double-digit lead until two minutes left in the third quarter before the Cadets made their charge. A 3-point play by Telfer and layup by Camren Menefree made the deficit six points by the end of the period, and a 10-0 run in the fourth gave St. Joseph its first lead of the game.
At 48-48 with 2:39 left, Joe Mangiamele hit a pair of foul shots to give the Cadets the lead back, and a foul shot by Aaron Sells pushed it to three points before Pritchett's heroics.
"We dug ourselves out of a first-half hole, and then we held them to eight points in the third quarter and seven points in the fourth quarter," Watts said. "We were taking the fight to (Staples), but they do such a good job of executing their stuff."
Telfer had 17 to lead St. Joseph while Mike Sulik had 14. Sulik fouled out late and Telfer was bothered by a cramp, hindering the offense down the stretch.
Casparius couldn't miss from the floor early, pouring in 14 points in the opening quarter to give the Wreckers a 21-6 lead. He hit a 3-pointer from well behind the line as the horn sounded.
"He's one of the best shooters in the FCIAC," Devine said. "He's done that for us and he'll continue to do that for us. ¦ We've gotten off to good starts."
Staples 67, St. Joseph 59 (OT)
ST. JOSEPH (1-5, 0-4 FCIAC)
STAPLES (4-1, 3-0 FCIAC)
Nick Esposito 4 0-1 8 Connor Whelan 3 2-2 11 Ben Casparius 10 1-3 27 Harry Kohn 4 1-1 9 Justin Seideman2 7-10 11 Sean Pritchett 1 0-0 3 Dylan Dreyfuss 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24 11-17 67.
ST. JOSEPH 6 20 12 14 7--59
STAPLES 21 16 7 8 14--66
3-pointers: St. Joseph--Mangiamele; Staples--Whelan 3, Casparius 6, Pritchett.