FAIRFIELD >> It was the prettiest performance, but as the buzzer sounded Friday night, the Fairfield Warde girls’ basketball team was able to add another win to its record to improve to 9-0 in the FCIAC and 10-1 overall.
Against a scrappy and hard-noised Staples squad, a 49-29 victory took some time; especially when shots weren’t falling, players weren’t finishing and turnovers were occurring.
The Mustangs took a 23-12 lead into the half, and then their defense held Staples to just three points in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, the offense was able to find some rhythm, going on a 13-0 run led by senior Kaitlin McKenna who scored the first four points of the third. McKenna finished with 16 points, while teammate Tiara Fountain scored 12 of her team-high 18 in the second half. Freshman Iliana Krasniqi added 12.
“You got to make shots,” Warde head coach Dave Danko said. “You got to put the ball in the hoop. We came out and responded in the third quarter and held them to three points and kind of opened the game (up) and switched up our defenses.”
Staples gave one of the top teams in the conference everything they had. The Wreckers utilized a game plan that included some tough defense that gave Warde trouble at times Friday. Staples was hurt most by an inconsistent offensive flow and similar to Warde, they couldn’t covert at times. The Wreckers (4-6, 3-5), which led 5-4 at one point during the first quarter, got within 19-11 in the second quarter near the end, but missed two free throws to bridge the gap. The start of the third quarter and scoring just three points hurt the team.
“My girls play their rear ends off tonight,” Staples head coach Ed Huydic said. “They did everything I asked of them; the focus, the energy and the drive. They did everything but finish tonight. As far as I’m concerned we had a game plan that could beat this team. We demonstrated that with regularity, good press-breaking and getting good looks. The type of game we played it’s misleading to see the 20 point differential.”
Staples was paced by Abby Lustiug, who had a terrific game from the field scoring, including three second half 3-pointers. She finished with 18. Maggie Fair added five in the loss.
Warde will get a big test this coming week as they host Westhill on Tuesday and then travel to Danbury on Thursday.
Staples will host Harding on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.