WESTPORT — After falling behind by double-digits early against St. Joseph’s on the road, Staples coach Paco Fabian never lost confidence that his team was out of the game.
“I knew if we kept playing hard,” Fabian said. “Then the steals would come and we would start playing better.”
The steals did come in bunches as the Wreckers forced 28 turnovers en route to a 55-51 come-from-behind win against the Cadets on Tuesday night.
After trailing by as many as 12 points in the first half, Staples continued to hang around a St. Joseph’s team that forced 24 turnovers — before coming alive in the second half, taking its first lead of the game midway through the fourth quarter.
A 9-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer from junior Elle Fair helped spring the Wreckers ahead of St. Joseph’s.
Although Staples played well to get back into the game, it was the turnovers that were the catalyst for the loss according to St. Joseph’s coach Chris Lindwall.
“We got lazy with our passes,” he said. “We were throwing lob passes and chest passes when we should have been throwing bounce passes. We really only have two kids with varsity minutes and that really showed.”
The Cadets did excel at creating a tough time for Staples’ Fair and Arianna Gerig despite the loss. While also getting a strong performance from junior Tessie Hynes, who finished with a team-high 13 points.
St. Joseph sophomore Rahmia Johnston provided a nice spark off the bench with 12 points and five rebounds.
But the Wreckers dynamic duo wouldn’t stay down for long, and eventually both came alive in the second half, leading the charge for the comeback.
After getting into a bit of foul trouble early, Gerig came on strong late in the game and finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
“(Coach) just said ‘I just need to be there for the end of the game,’ ” Gerig said. “So whether its just putting your hands up or playing safe, just don’t do anything that might get you out of a game before crunch time comes.”
On the defensive end, Fair proved to be a headache for the Cadets. The junior point guard finished with a game-high six steals to go along with 14 points, two rebounds, and two assists.
“These past two games we’ve kind of had a slow start,” Fair said. “We’re more of a second half team, so having that confidence at halftime that we can come back from a deficit. Paco always said ‘trust your teammates, trust your coaches’ and that’s what we did in the second half.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Gerig. After dealing with some foul trouble and early struggles in the first half, the sophomore was able to finish with a double-double, 14 points and 10 rebounds. “The team chemistry and the bounds between us (teammates) gets you out of that funk if you’re in it. So I really owe it all to them,” Gerig said about getting back into the game mentally in Staples’ 55-51 comeback win.
WAY OUT OF BOUNDS
Both team combined for 52 turnovers.
“I don’t know how St. Joe’s is 0-4 right now. That is a really good team. They played really well. We’re just psyched to get a win. Anytime you go on the road in the FCIAC and get a win, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, it’s a big win.” — Staples coach Paco Fabian on big road win over St. Joseph’s on Tuesday night.
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ST. JOSEPH’S 51
STAPLES13 14 11 17—55
ST. JOSEPH’S16 18 8 9—51
Elle Fair 4 5-5 14 Sophie Smith 2 0-1 4 Arianna Gerig 4 6-9 14 Isabella Didio 0 0-0 0 Amanda Troelstra 1 0-2 2 Nicole Dienst 1 1-2 3 Marley Lopez-Paul 6 0-0 12 Abigail Carter 0 0-0 0 Marisa Shorrock 2 2-2 6 Kate Rutter 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 14-20 55.
ST. JOSEPH’S (0-4)
Kathryn Zito 4 0-0 10 Kaitlin Capobianco 3 0-0 7 Tessie Hynes 5 2-3 13 Elena Ball 2 0-0 4 Emma Elrod 1 0-0 2 Sarah Johnson 0 0-0 0 Veronica Lubas 0 0-0 0 Rahmia Johnston 3 5-6 12 Maddie Johnson 1 1-2 3 Allison Krekoska 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 8-10 51.
3-pointers: STJ—Zito 2, Capobianco, Hynes, Johnston; S—Fair.
Highlights: S—Lopez-Paul had 12 points and two rebounds. Troelstra had three rebounds and a block. STJ—Capobianco had four assists and a steal. Elrod had four rebounds.