WESTPORT, Conn. – Staples High School’s boys basketball team won for the sixth time in seven games and sent a jolt through the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference Thursday with a 53-50 victory over Westhill.
The loss was the first conference setback for the Vikings (14-2 overall, 13-1 league). Staples improved to 10-6 overall and 9-5 in the league. The victory helps the Wreckers in their quest to reach the league playoffs. They enter the final four games of the regular season seventh in the league in the race for one of the eight playoff berths.
“We were really looking forward to this one,’’ said senior Peter Rankowitz, who scored a game-high 23 points for Staples. “This was an undefeated team in the league coming into our place. It was a big one for us.”
James Frusciante added 14 for Staples, and Ross Whelan added 13. The Wreckers also played outstanding defense, led by Rankowitz, who had some key steals and blocks. He also dished out some big assists when the Vikings tried to contain him.
Staples built a 14-point lead in the second half before the Vikings rallied. The game was tied twice in the fourth quarter before Staples pulled ahead for good. Rankowitz hit two free throws with 11.1 seconds left, and Westhill missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer with the clock winding down. Fans stormed the court as Rankowitz raced up court with the rebound.
Staples continues its playoff push Monday at Greenwich and Wednesday at Trumbull.