Boys’ basketball narrowly falls to Wilton in instant classic


Charlie Honig ’23 shoots two at the free throw line with just over a minute left in regulation time (Photo by William Murray ’25)

The Staples Wreckers boys’ basketball team suffered their third defeat of the season, losing 69-68 in an overtime thriller against the Wilton Warriors on Jan. 31.

Led by Cody Sale ’23, who notched a team-high 22 points, and Sam Clachko ’26, who put on a shooting clinic with 16 points, the Wreckers were able to stay with the Wilton Warriors and force overtime.

After Adam Udell ’25 made a last second layup to tie the game at 61, it looked as if the Wreckers had all the momentum heading into the overtime period. However, this didn’t prove to be the case as Wilton star Tommy McKiernan, who had 27 points, hit a quick three-pointer just seconds into the overtime period.

If we want to achieve the goals we have in mind as a team, everyone has to do their job and play their role.

— Sam Clachko '26

Overtime consisted of an intense four minutes of basketball between two of the FCIAC (Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference) powerhouses, but Wilton prevailed and ended up being able to hold on to their lead, winning the game by just one point.

“There’s no denying it was a tough defeat for us to take,” Udell said, “but I definitely think we held our own and it was a good learning experience playing against a strong competitor like Wilton.”

Cody Sale ’23, who had 22 points in the game, gets fouled when going up for a basket (Photo by William Murray ’25)

Despite being heavily guarded inside the paint, Chris Zajac ’23 scored 18 points and grabbed a game-high 7 rebounds. The Staples big man is widely regarded as one of the most dominant players in the FCIAC, so there is no question as to why he draws so much attention from defenses all around the conference.

“I get double and sometimes even triple teamed by opposing defenses, which can be frustrating,” Zajac said, “but it’s just important to stay patient and make the right reads to put my teammates in a good position to put the ball in the hoop.”

Throughout the season, a big reason behind why the Wreckers have found success in scoring the ball is because of Sam Clachko’s sharpshooting from behind the arc. In the matchup versus Wilton, Clachko delivered yet again for Staples, hitting four three-pointers.

“If we want to achieve the goals we have in mind as a team, everyone has to do their job and play their role,” Clachko said. “I look to play my role by knocking down shots to help my team win.”

As Staples is nearing the postseason, it is up to more experienced players like Charlie Honig ’23 to lead the team. The Wreckers are certainly one of the younger teams in the FCIAC, with numerous underclassmen in the rotation; it will be up to the veterans of Staples basketball to lead the younger players come playoff time.

“I think there have been games this year that we didn’t close out as well as we could have,” Honig said. “Being one of the captains of the team, I’m going to try to lead us both on and off the court to help the team accomplish the goals we are aiming for.”