WESTPORT — Staples’ win over Danbury on Wednesday night proved one thing about the Wreckers. If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
A second-half team all season long, Staples outscored Danbury 34-16 in the final two quarters en route to a 51-42 home win.
Despite struggling against the Hatters’ 2-3 zone in the first half, scoring under 10 points in each of the first two quarters for a 17-point half, Staples fixed its shooting woes in the second for a sixth straight victory.
Although coach Paco Fabian doesn’t have an answer for the first-half struggles this season, he is always confident the Wreckers will find a way to pull a game out, he said.
“We haven’t won one first quarter yet in seven games,” Fabian said. “It’s amazing because these girls don’t panic. They look at me like ‘We still have it, Coach, we’re fine.’ ”
Danbury jumped out to a nine-point halftime lead, before Staples got the offense rolling. Led by junior Elle Fair’s game-high 21 points, the Wreckers stormed back during a 13-2 third-quarter run to take the lead for good.
“The first half was definitely rough for me tonight,” Fair said. “But in the second half, I told myself in order for us to get the win I had to be more aggressive. So I had more confidence in my shot and I was just having more fun out there.”
Staples’ bench provided a major spark during the run. Abigail Carter and Kate Rutter each provided productive minutes for the Wreckers as their reserves outscored Danbury’s bench 13-0.
But Hatters coach Jackie DiNardo said the game got away from them due to a lack of maturity when Staples made its run.
“I think it’s experience,” she said. “They just fell a part when we had a little extra pressure and they didn’t keep their composure. They started rushing, taking long shots that they shouldn’t have. They started forcing shots they shouldn’t have and you can’t do that. You have to stay in your rhythm and we didn’t.”
Danbury had several players in double figures with Ty’Lynn Ith leading the Hatters with a team-high 15 points and five rebounds, while Catrina Sullivan finished with 10 points and Susana Almeida had 13 points.
While the slow starts have been cause for concern for the Wreckers, it has yet to derail them from going out and proving something to the rest of the conference, Fair said.
“In the second half Coach kind of just ripped into us,” Fair said. “He said, ‘Hey, we’re one of the better teams in the FCIAC, let’s go out and show it.’ ”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
After a slow first half with only three points, Fair exploded in the second half, finishing with a game-high 21 points. She also dished out a pair of assists and had a rebound for the Wreckers.
Since dropping the opening game of the season to Bethel, Staples has ripped off six straight wins and as of Wednesday night was atop the standings in the FCIAC West Division.
“Abby’s one of those girls I talked to before the season and told her ‘You probably won’t play this season,’ and all of a sudden she’s in our rotations, she’s going to be in every game now because she’s a girl that works. She plays hard, she puts her nose in there, every loose ball she’s trying to get, every rebound, even though she’s the smallest girl on the floor. She’s like a coach’s dream to have a girl play that hard.” — Staples coach Paco Fabian on the production Abigail Carter gives the Wreckers off the bench.
STAPLES 51, DANBURY 42
DANBURY12 14 6 10—42
STAPLES8 9 16 18—51
Sabrina Almeida 2 0-0 4 Catrina Sullivan 5 0-1 10 Susana Almeida 5 2-3 13 Tanisha Cunningham 0 0-0 0 Ty’Lynn Ith 7 1-4 15 Emily Grenier 0 0-0 0 Demia Moore 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 3-7 42.
Elle Fair 6 6-8 21 Sophie Smith 1 0-0 2 Arianna Gerig 5 0-0 10 Isabella Didio 1 1-2 3 Amanda Troelstra 1 0-0 2 Nicole Dienst 1 0-0 2 Marley Lopez-Paul 0 0-0 0 Abigail Carter 1 0-2 3 Marisa Shorrock 1 0-0 2 Kate Rutter 3 0-0 6 Nicole Holmes 0 0-0 0 Kathleen Cozzi 1 0-0 2. Totals: 21 7-12 51.
3-pointers: D—Susana Almeida; S—Fair 3, Carter.
Fouled out: D—Sabrina Almeida
Highlights: S—Kate Rutter had six points off the bench. Abigail Carter had seven rebounds. D—Emily Grenier had three rebounds.