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Boys’ basketball handed first loss of season in tight matchup against Ridgefield

The+Staples+Wreckers+fell+to+the+Ridgefield+Tigers+48-46+in+a+thrilling+matchup.+%28Photo+by+William+Murray+%E2%80%9925%29
The Staples Wreckers fell to the Ridgefield Tigers 48-46 in a thrilling matchup. (Photo by William Murray ’25)

The Staples Wreckers were narrowly defeated, 48-46, by the Ridgefield Tigers in their opening game of FCIAC play.

After making a run to the state championship in the 2022-23 season, Coach Goldshore and the Wreckers entered this season carrying that same momentum, winning their opening three non-conference contests. The real test, however, came against rivals Ridgefield on Friday, Jan. 5.

As the Wreckers came out on top in both games last year, the Tigers entered the matchup with a chip on their shoulder. In what was a contest between two of the best defenses in the state, right from the beginning it was clear that the game would go down to the wire. That it did.

To end the game, with 7.7 seconds left and the Tigers leading by 2, a scrappy inbounds pass was eventually picked up by Adam Udell ’25 at the top of the key. As the clock ticked down and Ridgefield was doing everything in their power to hold on to their lead, Udell weaved by defenders to create a tough shot for himself at the buzzer.

As Udell threw up the shot, the Staples student section looked on as the ball rimmed out. Ridgefield hung on, just barely.

“Some nights the shots just won’t fall. It wasn’t our night shooting the ball,” Nathan Smith ’25 said. “Despite the loss, I think we will still be the team to beat as the season goes on.”

Leading up to that final play of the game, the first quarter concluded with Ridgefield up by 3 points, 15-12. A defensive-oriented game was expected and therefore the low scoring first quarter was no surprise.

Both Staples and Ridgefield have two of the strongest defenses in the state; the emphasis each team puts on their defense was clear to see throughout the course of the game. (Photo by William Murray ’25)

“We take pride in our defense and I thought we played well on that side of the ball, but there are definitely some things that we need to improve,” Udell said. “Since we are on the shorter side as a team, we try our best to play tougher and bigger than we are.”

The second quarter was a similar situation to the first; both teams held strong defensively, but the Ridgefield Tigers were able to use their size to their advantage down low in the paint against the smaller Staples Wreckers.

As both teams headed to the locker room for halftime, Staples found themselves trailing 24-19; work needed to be done in the second half for the Wreckers to make a comeback.

“Instead of feeling out the game early on, we have to be eager to put ourselves in a good position that sets us up for the rest of the game,” Charlie Bowman ’25 said. “Due to the slow start, we were once trailing by 10 points and dug ourselves in a hole.”

Staples’ slow start was beginning to show signs of proving costly as similar scoring trends to the first and second quarter also applied to the third quarter.

Mason Tobias ’26 shoots a free throw towards the end of the third quarter. (Photo by William Murray ’25)

The third quarter buzzer sounded and Ridgefield returned to their bench with a narrow 4 point lead. For Staples, staring them in the face was their first loss of the season.

Throughout the entirety of the fourth quarter, all spectators in the Staples gymnasium couldn’t take their eyes off the game. Despite a late injury to Staples star Sam Clachko ’26, which forced him out of the game, the Wreckers were able to rally and go on a late run as they had the opportunity to send the game to overtime, but came up just short.

Losing in such a close game against a rival is a tough one to take for the Wreckers, but along with the loss comes valuable learning experiences.

“We learned that even when things aren’t going our way, we need to stay connected and stick to our game plan,” Clachko said. “We’ll bounce back by staying connected and not let one early loss affect us moving forward.”

 

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William Murray ’25, Web Sports Editor
Web Sports Editor William Murray ’25 has long held a passion for journalism, he views Inklings as a way to pursue his love of writing as well as his passion for sports. “I’ve always been interested in writing about sports especially,” Murray said. “Also, both my sisters were in Inklings so I wanted to follow in their footsteps.” Outside of performing his editor duties, Murray plays for Beachside Soccer Club. “I love soccer — I’ve played it since I was two,” Murray said. “I hope to do something with sports, [...] whether it's playing or writing about it.”  

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