Greenwich solves red-hot Staples
About the only thing certain in the world of FCIAC boys basketball this season is that nothing is for certain.
The wild and unpredictable league took another dramatic twist Tuesday night as Greenwich, fighting for its FCIAC tournament life, cooled off surging Staples, 55-43, behind a tenacious defensive effort.
Juniors CJ Byrd and Alex Wold had 19 points apiece for the Cardinals (9-8), who entered the night in a three-way tie for ninth place in the league.
Staples (10-7) remains in the seventh spot, but found out just how balanced the FCIAC this season. The Wreckers, who had won seven of eight, were coming off a 53-50 victory over Westhill -- the final team to drop a league game this winter.
"It's a great league and anyone can beat anyone," Staples coach Colin Devine said. "Our defense kept us in the game, but give Greenwich credit, they played great in their (2-3) zone."
The Cardinals actually started out in their usual man-to-man defense, but switched to the 2-3 and wound up holding the Wreckers to just eight points in the second and fourth quarters.
Greenwich trailed 20-16 before going on a 10-0 run in the second quarter.
Clinging to a 32-30 advantage in the third, this time it was a 7-0 spurt that helped the Cardinals keep the lead for good.
"The idea was to get the lead and not let up," Byrd said. "We knew that Staples had just beaten Westhill, the same team that beat us by 20 recently, but we still wanted to come out confident on our home court. Our fans were great, and that helped. We really needed this one."
Alex McMurray added seven points for Greenwich.
The Wreckers were led by seniors James Frusciante (12 points) and Ross Whelan (10). Senior standout Peter Rankowitz, one of the league's top players, was held to nine points -- well below his season average.
"Getting (Wolf) back was big for us and CJ played great, I think he's one of the top five players in the league," Greenwich coach Bill Brehm said. "We just didn't let them get into a rhythm. Obviously they were coming off a big win over Westhill, but that's the kind of league this is. You've gotta show up for everyone, and now hopefully we've got three more efforts in us like this one to end the season."