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Darien boys basketball team edges Staples for first win of season

Published 7:54 pm, Saturday, December 28, 2013
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DARIEN -- It was no surprise that the Darien and Staples boys basketball teams were locked in in a tight affair late in the fourth quarter in their matchup Friday night at the Darien gym.

With both teams coming off last-minute losses in their previous games, it was the Blue Wave that pulled away with an improved fourth quarter performance that helped them notch their first win of the season.

Matt Staubi scored 10 of his game-high 23 points in the final period and dished out seven assists as Darien edged Staples 65-59 in the first game of the LaVista Tournament. Both Darien (Saturday) and Staples (Monday) will meet New Canaan in the round-robin tournament.

"(The win is) huge," Darien coach Kyle Marian said of improving to 1-2 on the season. "The two games before this we felt like we should have won. After losing last Friday we had to stew with it for a week. I knew these guys really wanted it."

The Wreckers, who fell 62-58 to Bassick in their last contest, continuously fought back whenever Darien threatened to pull away. David Katz scored 20 points -- including four of the Wreckers' eight 3-pointers.

"(Katz is) a great shooter and knocked down some big shots," Staples coach Colin Devine said. "So did Andrew Felman (five points) late in the game. We just need to take advantage of making those shots and get a win."

After falling by a single point to Fairfield Ludlowe last Friday, Darien came out highly motivated and stormed out to a 17-12 first-quarter lead. Staubi was content with setting up his teammates until the game was in the balance.

"That's the type of player he is," Marian said. "He's a pass first point guard but he knows when the game is on the line he's going to step up. That's how it's always been."

Staubi sunk a 3-pointer with five minutes left to cap a 7-0 Blue Wave run after Staples had tied the game at 43 to provide his team with breathing room. When Katz pulled the Wreckers to within 54-53 with less than three minutes remaining, George Phillips (15 points) hit a triple to reestablish the four-point lead. Staples didn't get closer the rest of the way.

"It was a good sign for us that when (the Wreckers) made their run we were ready to battle back," Marian said. "We were able to tough out a win."

The Wreckers yielded just eight points in the third quarter to draw within striking distance heading into the final frame.

"I thought we played a great second half," Devine said. "It was a total team effort we knocked down some big shots had some great performances from our seniors."

Devine said that a more focused defensive effort is necessary as the Wreckers gave up at least 16 points in each of the other three quarters.

"We have to finish the possession," Devine said. "We play good defense for part of a possession or part of a play would break down. We need to play the entire possession until five people are blocking out and grabbing a rebound."



Nic Esposito 4 0-4 8 David Katz 6 4-4 20 Jake Melnick 3 8-13 15 Andrew Felman 2 0-0 5 Darryle Wiggins 1 3-3 5 Todd Goldstein 0 0-0 0 Ben Casparius 2 0-0 6 Totals 18 15-24 59.

DARIEN (1-2)

Chima Azuonwu 4 1-2 9 Matt Staubi 7 6-9 Hudson Hamill 1 6-5 7 George Phillips 5 4-4 15 Colin Sullivan 5 1-3 11 Totals 23 17-24 65.

STAPLES 12 14 12 21--59

DARIEN 17 16 8 24--65

3-pointers: S--Katz 4, Casparius 2, Melnick, Felman; D--Staubi, Phillips.