Second half rally pushes Staples girls’ basketball to be victorious over Darien

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Jess leon

Mia Didio ’22 dribbles the ball from the point guard position after making a three point shot to start off the fourth quarter. This shot put the Wreckers up 23-20 and helped change the momentum of the game.

The Staples girls’ basketball team beat Darien 30-28 on Jan. 4 to improve their season record to 2-1. 

Late in the third quarter, Mckenzie Didio ’22 made a breakaway layup to tie the score at 20-20. Following that, the Wreckers opened up the final quarter with a quick three pointer from captain Mia Didio ’22. This was a pivotal play that gave the Wreckers the momentum that they needed to finish the game. 

 “It was a really close game but everyone was able to play their hearts out all the way to the end,” Mckenzie Didio said. “This is just the start and we have a long way to go.” 

Captain Jen Westphal ’22 was able to maintain the victory for the Wreckers with a steal in the final 20 seconds of the game.

Westphal believes that the Wreckers’ defensive press was a huge advantage for them since it kept Darien from making offensive plays.

Sydelle Bernstein ’22 set the tone at the beginning of the game, putting the Wreckers in the lead. She did this by hitting a three pointer, quickly followed by a steal, which turned into a layup and a 5-0 advantage. 

After Bernstein’s quick points, both teams lacked momentum for the remainder of the first quarter.  Therefore, the first half remained close throughout. Bernstein recognized the first half was not their best, due to their inability to succeed after her initial points.

 “We did not come out with the intensity we needed in the first half, but after a reality check at half time we were able to pick it up and work better as one unit,” Bernstein said. 

Captain Mckenzie Didio also believes that the team increased their intensity in the second half. 

“I think that in the second half we came out a lot stronger and played more as a team,” Didio said. “Everyone stepped up and made an impact on the game.”

  Darien is a lower ranked team than Staples, so the close game is a wake up call for the Wreckers. The captains recognize that a lot of work needs to be done to dominate teams such as Darien. 

“Overall a win is a win and I’m super proud of the team,” Westphal said. “That being said, today was a reminder to never underestimate a team just because they are ranked lower.” 

Overall a win is a win and I’m super proud of the team”

— Jen Westphal '22

Currently, the team is dealing with a lot of uncertainty regarding COVID related issues. 

“With almost half our players being out right now for Covid related reasons, it is more important than ever that every girl gives 100% of their energy every second on the floor and picks one another up,” Bernstein said.

 The Wreckers will continue to practice and prepare to be ready for their upcoming games. 

 “It’s just a reminder that we need to focus on keeping the intensity up at practices and hope that it carries on into the game,” Westphal said.

The Wreckers will next play at Ridgefield on Jan. 8.