Adam Udell led the Wreckers with 20 points in the FCIAC championship game against Trumbull on Thursday. / Photos by Andy Hutchison
Photo at left: Staples’ Sam Clachko scored 13 against the game-winning Eagles. Right: Nick Sikorski, left, and Caleb Smith defend for the Wreckers.

By Andy Hutchison

WILTON — It was a nail-biting heartbreaker.

No. 4-seed Staples lost its shot for the FCIAC tournament title to No. 2 Trumbull, falling 70-67 in overtime in Thursday night’s championship game played at Wilton High.

The Eagles saw the same Wreckers team it held to 39 points in their regular-season meeting — won by Trumbull 55-39 — score 40 in the first half. But they bounced back, holding Staples to 17 points in the second half. A trio of Staples players fouled out in overtime.

Battling for the ball in Thursday’s FCIAC championship game were Staples’ Charlie Bowman, left, and Nick Sikorski. 

Adam Udell scored 20 points to lead the Wreckers. Mason Tobias had 15, Sam Clachko 13, Nick Sikorski nine, Caleb Smith eight and Charlie Bowman two.

The Wreckers made four 3-pointers in the first half, a pair from Sikorski, and built a 40-32 advantage going into the break.

Strong defense and some shooting woes kept the scoring down in the second half. The Wreckers led 51-44 going to the fourth. 

Trumbull finally tied things, at 55 apiece, just past the midpoint of the final regulation stanza. 

Udell assisted Smith for an in-close hoop as Staples regained the lead with 3:23 left in the fourth. Trumbull tied it at 57-57 with 2:52 left. 

There would be no more scoring in regulation of this offense-turned-defense-focused contest.

After the teams exchanged turnovers in the final two minutes, the Wreckers had the last look for a chance to win it in regulation, but couldn’t get the waning-seconds opportunity to fall.

In the four-minute OT, Tobias scored in the paint for a 59-57 lead. After Trumbull seized the lead, Smith drained a right-corner 3-pointer for a 62-61 Wrecker advantage with 2:36 left.

The Eagles got the next two hoops for a 65-62 lead. Bowman scored on a baseline drive to pull the Wreckers within a point with 1:09 left. 

After the Eagles restored their three-point advantage, Clachko drove to the basket to score, making it 67-66 Eagles with 32 seconds left.

The Eagles went back up three points. Clachko was fouled in the act of attempting a 3-pointer and had a chance to tie the game with six seconds left, but made one shot out of three from the line. 

Trumbull hit one of two foul shots with four seconds to go, giving the Wreckers a slim chance to tie. But Staples was unable to get a last-second shot off.

Trumbull’s Ryan Johnston scored 29 and was voted the tourney MVP. Clachko and Udell were selected to the All-FCIAC Team.

“I thought we were confident coming into the game. They made some plays and I’m proud of my boys for what they’ve done, the way they’ve played,” Staples Coach David Goldshore said. 

“It was a great basketball game. Sometimes the scoreboard says one thing, but my kids are champions — they’re champions.”

Andy Hutchison has been covering school sports — including Staples athletics — as well as news and feature stories in Fairfield County, since the 1990s.