Boys basketball: Warde beats Staples, moves to 6-0
Updated 9:23 pm, Friday, January 6, 2017
WESTPORT — First to nearly every offensive rebound and with hands close to the ball every time Staples took it up the court, the Warde boys basketball team turned hustle opportunities into points late in a close game Friday night.
Those points added up quickly.
The Mustangs continued their dream start to the season behind a 35-point fourth quarter that lifted them past Staples 89-73. The lead was just three a minute into the fourth before a flurry of forced turnovers and layups helped Warde coast to a 6-0 start.
“(Staples) made some mistakes caused by our defense; I think our defensive pressure throughout helped,” Warde coach Ryan Swaller said. “Being able to go the full 32 minutes at full speed and get guys some rest was key. Getting the game into the 70s or 80s was our goal.”
The Wreckers (3-4) kept pace for the first 25 minutes as Justin Seideman (30 points) and Sean Pritchett (28) scored seemingly at will to keep up with the high-flying Mustangs. Staples went on an 11-0 run to overturn a deficit and take a 48-45 lead late in the third period.
“We played two-and-a-half, three-and-a-half good quarters, and to beat a really good team like Warde we had to put the complete game together,” Staples coach Colin Devine said. “I thought rebounding and not playing with enough confidence on offense down the stretch were the two things that made us come up short.”
Warde immediately responded with a run of its own to take a 54-50 lead heading into the final period. With both teams already in the limit heading into the final eight minutes, foul shots aided the Mustangs’ cause. Warde went 15-for-16 from the line in the quarter, with the rest of its eye-popping 35 coming off layups, both in the half court and transition off Wreckers mistakes. The Mustangs went on a 16-5 run midway through the quarter to increase their leade to 74-58 with three minutes left.
The offensive output was the highest for the Mustangs this season, but they’ve already eclipsed 84 points three times as an experienced group has found its rhythm early in the season.
“We shot the ball pretty well from the outside, so that tends to spread the floor a little easier,” Swaller said. “We were unselfish getting the open guy shots, and eventually we were able to get the rim. It was another good win coming out against a tough Staples team.”
Having not played in more than a week after toppling Prep and moving into the top 10 of the state poll, Swaller expected the Wreckers — and perhaps future opponents — to be ready to give Warde its best shot.
“You could see the energy in the players,” Swaller said. “They didn’t back down; both teams scored 19 points in the first quarter. We want to keep teams in the 12 points; we gave up 25 too many points in my mind. I know it’s a win but defensively we have a lot of work to do.”
As hot as Warde has started this season, Seideman has done the same on an individual level for the Wreckers. His 30 points was another of a string of performances that has helped keep the offense afloat. Pritchett has also already posted multiple games in the high 20s.
“(Seideman is) All-League,” Devine said. “He’s been an All-League player all seven games for us on both ends of the floor. The kids are really feeding off him.”
WARDE 89, STAPLES 73
WARDE (6-0, 2-0 FCIAC)
Giacomo Brancato 7 5-5 19 JJ Conway 4 3-4 11 Antonio Brancato 4 0-0 9 Marcel Parsons 7 1-2 18 Sean Conway 4 12-13 20 Stephen Paolini 2 0-0 4 Jackson Longley 1 2-2 4 3 Totals: 29 23-26 89.
STAPLES (3-4, 1-2 FCIAC)
Justin Seideman 13 2-3 30 Sean Pritchett 9 10-13 28 Matt Fair 0 0-0 0 Evan Vishno 1 2-2 5 Brendan Massoud 0 0-0 0 Gab Wick 2 0-0 6 Ben Pearl 2 0-0 4 Max Sussman 0 0-0 0. Totals: 27 14-18 73.
WARDE 19 18 17 35—89
STAPLES 19 13 18 23—77
3-pointers: W—A. Brancato 1, Parsons 3; S—Seideman 2, Vishno, Wick 2.