WESTPORT — WESTPORT - As the final whistle blew, the crowd rose to its feet to applaud what had been a great season. Although the Staples girls basketball team didn’t achieve its goal of winning a Class LL state title, it had completed a goal that in the long run, may prove to be more important.
Taking a giant leap in the right direction.
The Wreckers had made it back to the state tournament for the third time in four years under coach Paco Fabian, who said it is all about continuing to build a foundation for a great program.
“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished this year,” he said. “I’m proud of this group”
Wilbur Cross proved to be just a bit better than the Wreckers, but Fabian said being able to compete with one of the best the SCC can offer means that they are on the right track.
“That Wilbur Cross team is a very good team,” Fabian said. “The teams they play against, they have battled all year against top five teams in the state. I was really impressed to be in that game with them. That’s a really good team. ”
Staples finished the season 14-7, including trips to the FCIAC tournament and the state tournament. Next season looks bright for the Wreckers as they return both top scorers in junior guard Elle Fair and sophomore forward Arianna Gerig.
Gerig, who finished with 27 points in the loss to Wilbur Cross, said she understands the importance getting to consecutive state tournaments mean.
“It means a ton for me,” she said. “I love basketball and just continuing our season and doing better than what Staples has done in the past is a great accomplishment for the entire team and it’s a great accomplishment for the program as a whole.”
Prior to Fabian’s arrival in 2014, the Staples program was trending downward. The Wreckers had not been to the state tournament since the 2011-12 season. It was a win against Hall that would be Staples last victory in the tournament.
But since occupying the bench, Fabian’s style has resonated with his players and the results have been evident, with steady improvement year-by-year.
Even with Fabian taking home FCIAC coach of the year last season.
“Hopefully we get here next year and do bigger things,” he said.
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