The Staples boys basketball team spread out the scoring and played lockdown defense to win its second straight game, moving to .500 in the process on Thursday, Jan. 12.

Behind a strong fourth quarter, Staples turned an eight-point lead into a 16-point win, besting New Canaan 45-29 at New Canaan High School Thursday night.

"We were making a few mental errors in the third quarter when New Canaan was coming back a little bit, but I think we kind of came together and stuck to our stuff that we've been practicing all season long," Staples' Mike Argosh said. "We have a young team but everyone's kind of growing into their position and learning their stuff, so I think this is a good sign for the future of the season."

Any hope of a New Canaan comeback was doused by sharp fourth quarter shooting by Staples. Staples coach Colin Devine indicated that his team's ability to prevent the Rams from hanging around is a positive sign as the season nears its midway point.

"I think we picked up the defensive intensity when we needed to, got some stops and it lead to some easy layups for us," Devine said. "We're in a good spot, and we've got to continue to build on this victory."

Staples, which did not trail throughout the game, got things going on three straight buckets by Darryle Wiggins, Peter Rankowitz and Wiggins again for a 6-0 lead. After a New Canaan timeout, the Rams struck back to close the Wreckers' lead to 8-6 on the strength of a basket by Claude Chandonnet and a pair of deuces by Nick Depuy.

After Andrew Read pulled the Rams even at 8-8 to start the second quarter, Staples went on a 15-4 run to close out the half, and New Canaan went into the locker rooms on the wrong side of a 23-12 score. The double-digit deficit was due in large part to an inability to sink some makeable layups and some difficulty at the foul line.

"It's not easy playing against teams that are senior-laden, but that's no excuse. In the first half, we probably missed four layups and probably missed five free throws and then we're down 11 at the half; that's supposed to be a pretty even game," New Canaan coach Mike Halley said. "That's what's disappointing because you go into the locker room knowing that you should be even, and maybe even ahead if you're lucky."

Staples' offensive attack was paced by Argosh and Rankowitz, who dropped 12 points apiece. Wiggins and James Frusciante chipped in with six each.

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New Canaan received eight points from Willie Burger and another seven from Depuy.

"In the fourth quarter, we had a couple bad defensive plays," Read said. "They were getting back in transition and making easy layups. We need a little bit more energy getting back on defense."

New Canaan (1-9) fell to Ridgefield on Tuesday by a score of 64-38.

"Everyone has that light bulb moment, and we're still looking for ours," Halley said. "We're going to get it; the kids are being patient and they're working hard every day."