Warde rallies in 4th quarter to beat Staples
FAIRFIELD -- Given the way both teams had executed on offense up until that point, the 10-point lead Staples had on Warde with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter appeared to be enough to send the Wreckers to their fifth win in six games this season.
Instead, the Mustangs turned up the heat, and in a blink of an eye a sizable lead was theirs.
Fueled by a 20-3 run in just a three-minute stretch during the fourth quarter, Warde toppled Staples 63-56 on Friday night to improve to 2-5 on the season. The Wreckers dropped to 4-2 with the loss.
Chris Smaldone and Marcel Parsons each had 18 points for Warde, which scored 29 in the final period and had a massive edge at the charity stripe. The Mustangs went 25-for-29 -- including 13-of-15 in the fourth -- while Staples went 6-for-12.
"They're going to play throughout for 32 minutes," Warde coach Ryan Swaller said of his team. "Good things, bad things; sometimes good energy isn't great because we're forcing things we shouldn't be doing. But they're learning how to play together for 32 minutes."
The game was a defensive affair before the final eight minutes. Staples held a 34-32 lead with three minutes left in the third before a quick 8-0 run gave the Wreckers their largest lead of the game.
"Even though we had a lead because some shots went down, I think (Warde) won the 50-50 balls and they just out-scrapped us," Staples coach Colin Devine said.
Warde began applying full-court pressure trailing 44-34 early in the fourth and the game turned rapidly. Four straight turnovers led to eight points off layups and a 51-47 lead.
"It started off with defense, we were down by 10," Smaldone said. "We stuck together, got some steals and got back in the game in minutes."
The Wreckers were then assessed a technical foul after Parsons was fouled on a shot attempt. Parsons sank three of the four free throws to increase the advantage to 54-47 with still more than half the final quarter to play.
"We just need to get better at taking care of the ball in big spots," Devine said. "Tonight we just couldn't hold on, you have to credit coach Swaller; they kind of outworked us from start to finish."
Staples rallied by scoring two straight buckets to pull to within 56-54. After getting a stop, Staples took possession with 46 seconds remaining with a chance to tie the game, but Malcom Brune stole a pass and fired to JJ Conway, who converted a 3-point play to ice the game.
"Obviously it was going back and forth, and we showed our immaturity at that point," Swaller said. "I thought about calling a timeout, ¦ but just having the trust in them and realizing I do have it for them."
Smaldone and Parsons each sank a pair of free throws in the final seconds.
Warde 63, Staples 56
STAPLES (4-2, 3-1 FCIAC)
Nick Esposito 3 3-4 9 Connor Whelan 3 0-2 7 Ben Casparius 5 2-2 14 Harry Kohn 3 0-0 6 Seideman 2 1-4 6 Sean Pritchett 4 0-0 11 Jared Vishno 1 0-0 3 Dylan Dreyfuss 0 0-0 0 Fred Hertan 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 6-12 56.
WARDE (1-5, 1-3)
STAPLES 8 19 15 14--56
WARDE 13 9 12 29--63
3-pointers: S--Whelan, Casparius 2, Seideman, Pritchett 3, Vishno; W--Longley 2.