Sophomore Katie Flynn scored 11 of her game-high 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Ridgefield High girls basketball team pulled away to beat host Wilton, 44-26, on Wednesday night at the Zeoli Fieldhouse.
The low-scoring game was close through three quarters, with Ridgefield holding a 28-21 lead. Led by Flynn, the Tigers then outscored Wilton, 16-5, in the final period.
It was a rough night on offense for Wilton, which made just six shots from the field. Fourteen of the Warriors' 26 points came from the foul line.
“It’s clear that our poor shooting is what hurt us tonight,” Wilton coach Fred Francello said.“We showed good energy and worked hard on the boards; we just missed too many open looks and put-back shot attempts.”
Ridgefield improved to 9-8 overall and 8-5 in the FCIAC with the victory. Wilton, meanwhile, fell to 5-12 overall and 3-10 in the conference. The Warriors need to win their final three regular-season games to qualify for the state tournament for a ninth straight year.
Both teams got off to slow starts on offense in Wednesday's game. Two free throws by Sophia Strazza gave Wilton an 8-5 lead with 6.6 seconds left in the first quarter. Ridgefield inbounded the ball and Megan Klosowski dribbled into the front court unguarded before launching and hitting a long 3-pointer that beat the buzzer and tied the game at 8-8.
Strazza made two more free throws early in the second quarter to put the Warriors ahead 13-11, but that would be Wilton's last lead of the night. Ridgefield ended the quarter on a 9-3 run to take a 20-16 lead into halftime. All of Wilton’s points in the period came via the foul line.
The Tigers outscored Wilton, 8-5, in the third quarter to take a 28-21 lead with eight minutes to play. Ridgefield pressed the Wilton inbound passes and had success in forcing turnovers. The Warrior offense also took a hit when floor leader Kaitlin Reif left with a knee injury.
Flynn took over the game in the final quarter for the Tigers, scoring five baskets from close range and hitting a foul shot.
Maddie Burke, Riley Eaton, and Strazza had seven points apiece to lead Wilton.
“It’s been a tough season mostly because we are a young team with players that don’t have varsity experience and it’s a big learning curve,” said Burke, a senior captain. “It’s my senior year and it would be great to go out with a winning season, but I find the positives in playing this game and in my teammates. I feel all of your young players have made strides to improve their play since the beginning of the season and that’s all you can ask.”