After facing the two FCIAC finalists -- Trumbull and Danbury -- in its opening two games, the Staples girls basketball team was well prepared to take on one of the bottom teams of the conference.
And when the Wreckers got the opportunity to refine their skills against a beatable opponent, they executed far more to head coach Ed Huydic's liking.
Abby Lustig led a ferocious defensive effort and added 19 points as Staples won its home opener 59-20 over Bassick on Friday night. The Wreckers improved to 1-2 on the season.
"The girls looked a lot more relaxed, had real good energy, and like we talked about before the game it doesn't matter who we play moving forward we want to us focus on what we've been working so hard on, which is shooting technique and overall team defense," Huydic said. "This was a feel-good game."
Madeline Schemel, Tessa Mall, who added nine steals, Maggie Fair and Carly Lenihan all added eight points for the Wreckers, who scored the first 11 points of the game and outscored the Lions 18-6 in the first period.
But the story of the contest was the defense, particularly by Lustig at the top of the 1-3-1 zone defense. Lustig made every trip up the court an adventure for the visitors and either came up with the steal herself or forced an errant pass to one of her teammates.
"I just had to make sure I kept the girl to one side and if I could keep her above halfcourt but I knew that if she went by me I had my girls behind me."
Staples kept up its defensive intensity for the entire game. The Wreckers allowed just four points in the fourth quarter and none in the first six minutes.
"We made a couple of adjustments to that, we've been working on a half-court pressure package and with (Lustig's) length we hope to cash in on it," Huydic said.
The Wreckers attacked the Lions' zone defense both inside and out. Lustig and Lenihan each had a pair of 3-pointers as many open looks were available thanks to sharp passing.
"Today against a zone team we got the looks we wanted to," Huydic said. "Madeline Schemel was not hesitant in receiving and looking to shoot; that's a huge plus. The other girls that were on the wing were shot ready; that's very important to the varsity mentality."
Offense remains a work in progress for Staples, but its latest effort ensures progress has been made entering the holidaybreak.
"We have to work on a lot of shot form, making sure we take it strong to the hoop and making all of our layups because layups are an important part of the game," Lustig said. "Just really being aggressive."
The Wreckers will compete in the La Vista Christmas Tournament, which begins Dec. 27 at Darien. The winner will take on the winner between Greenwich and New Canaan in the final. Read Full Article
"It's going to be a tough competitive game (against Darien) but I'd like to think we can compete," Huydic said.