Boys basketball drives to success


Cooper Boardman, Sports Editor

Coming off a 5-15 finish in 2014, not much was expected of the Staples boys’ basketball team. But, after missing out on both the FCIAC and state playoffs last year, the team’s 2015 campaign has been one of the surprises in the FCIAC thus far.

The Wreckers got off to a hot start in league play—winning their first three games including a shocking upset over state title contender Stamford- and have already matched last season’s win total.

Led by stellar outside shooting, the guard-heavy lineup head coach Colin Devine elected to go with provided a potent offensive attack that was no match for Ludlowe and Newtown.

The starting lineup is one of the most unique in the FCIAC, featuring three sophomores, no juniors and two seniors. 6’4” center and post presence Nicolaas Esposito ’15 dominates inside and is the main rebounder on an undersized Wrecker squad. Connor Whelan ’15 provides senior leadership and plays with emotion that is unmatched by any player on the floor. He serves as a de facto power forward—grabbing rebounds that Esposito can’t get to—but is better known for his clutch three point accuracy in big situations.

Point guard Justin Seideman ’17 has great speed and often pushes in transition for easy layups, but he also has the court vision to find open shooters. Ben Casparius ’17 is deadly from beyond the arc, knocking down three after three and is the man with the ball at the end of close games. Small forward Sean Pritchett ’17 may have been the surprise performer for the Wreckers. He made a big statement in his first varsity start, scoring the game winning layup with under a minute to go in Staples’ opening night victory over Fairfield Ludlowe.

After improving to 3-0, the Wreckers lost a close battle in the 2014 Wilton Holiday Classic Championship game to Wilton—one of the best teams in the FCIAC—but rebounded with a gritty win over St. Joes in overtime.

However, the team lost four straight games to Fairfield Warde, Greenwich, Wilton and Harding, but three of those four games were lost by seven points or less.

The Wreckers seemed to fall away from the perimeter philosophy that had put them in FCIAC title contention. They had a tough time getting the ball in the hands of their dangerous three point shooters—Casparius did not score until the fourth quarter in their loss versus Wilton.

However, Staples got back to their winning ways with a 66-54 victory over Brien McMahon last Friday night. In that game, Casparius dropped 19 points and the team looked like it was back to normal. The Wreckers also received a key contribution off the bench from three-point specialist Harry Kohn ’15, which was vital because it gave the starters time to rest while the offense continued to thrive.

The Wreckers dropped their next game Wednesday night, falling to below .500 for the second time all year, but then rebounded with three straight wins.

With six games remaining, Staples is in ninth place in the FCIAC, tied with Bassick, who they will face tonight.

The Wreckers have a tough schedule ahead as three of their last four games are against opponents with records above .500 in league play.

The team has an opportunity to qualify for both the FCIAC and state playoffs—which they were unable to accomplish last season—and they will begin that quest tonight as they face Bassick.