Staples Basketball Roars Into State Finals

Exciting. Remarkable. Persistent. Courageous. Spectacular. Fun.

All those adjectives apply to the Staples High School boys basketball team.

Down by a nearly insurmountable 18 points in the 4th quarter last night, they staged a fierce, high-pressure-pressing comeback in the semifinals of the state Division II tournament, at Westhill High.

After a 15-0 run against #3 ranked Fairfield Warde, Caleb Smith’s 3-pointer with 37 seconds left tied the score at 48-48.

Then — still tied, with 13 seconds remaining in the first 4-minute overtime — sophomore Adam Udell stole an inbounds pass, and scored.

A huge block by Chris Zajac — the 6-8 center who scored scored 17 points — sealed the victory.

The 57-55 victory vaults the Wreckers into the state finals for the first time since … 1937.

They won that game 26-23 over Farmington. Franklin D. Roosevelt was president of the United States.

The 2023 finals is set for either Saturday or Sunday, at Mohegan Sun Arena. #7-seeded Staples will face #1 St. Bernard-Uncasville. The Saints beat Xavier-Middletown 78-53 in the other semifinal.

The Uncasville school is just a few miles from the casino’s basketball court. St. Bernard’s will have plenty of fans at Mohegan Sun.

But the Westporters will too.

Plus the intangibles that have taken them so far already: Talent. Teamwork. Confidence. Excellent coaching.

And momentum.

EXTRA POINTSTo see the entire game, click here….

In addition to Zajac’s 17 points, Staples’ scoring was led by Cody Sale (14), Gavin Rothenberg (10), Smith (8) and Udell (6) ….

28 of the Wreckers’ 57 points — almost exactly half — came in that wild 4th quarter….

Staples head coach Dave Goldshore is in just his first year at the helm. He spent 5 years as Colin Devine’s assistant. Devine stepped down after last winter, to pursue administrative opportunities.

7 responses to “Staples Basketball Roars Into State Finals

  1. Wow! Congrats! BUT I want to see the full game! Will the final be streamed anywhere? As a former BBall player that opened at the NJ Meadowlands, for the first pro women’s league before the WNBA was formed, I will say enjoy the big arena and don’t let the arena and court take you off your game! LET’S GO WRECKERS!

  2. Wow! Amazing grit! Congrats David Goldshore — I know this has been a dream. Go Wreckers!

  3. Go Wreckers!!!!
    An amazing achievement

  4. Chuck Haberstroh

    An incredible game, perhaps the best in SHS Hoops history. Congrats to Coach Goldshore, his assistants, and most of all – the players!!

    Video of the 4th quarter should be mandatory viewing for any young athlete. This is why you never give up, despite the lopsided score:

    Janine – the final will likely be broadcast live on the Staples link above, as it was last night.


  5. Thanks for that Chuck!

  6. David J. Loffredo

    I’ve now watched the fourth quarter and OT – twice.

    If you’re a kid on this team and not a Senior, when the college essay “tell me about an adversity you overcame” question comes up – this game is that.

    I was the Vanderbilt sports editor for two years, so I’ve seen a lot of great basketball. Ultimately it’s execution combined with discipline, guided by great coaching, and you hope the refs let them play.

    That all happened down the stretch, and while March Madness is upon is, the final 20 minutes of this YouTube clip is pretty spectacular.

    Congrats Wreckers, no reason you can’t win the whole thing, Furman just beat UVA.

  7. This is a very special time to be in the Westport sports community. The lacrosse program did the impossible, beating Darien. Football had an incredible season. And now the passion of Coach Goldshore and positivity with these incredible kids… it is all very special to see!!! Huge congrats to Staples!

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