Girls hoop preview: Wilton eyes upswing
Since most of the players on last year’s Wilton girls basketball team were on varsity for the first time, the season was a learning experience.
Now, second-year head coach Fred Francello is hopeful that some of those imparted lessons result in a few more wins this winter.
“The girls learned what it is to work hard during practice,” Francello said. “They saw how many of the little drills that we do in practice can make a difference during games.”
Wilton went 6-14 last year, failing to qualify for the state tournament on percentage points to Greenwich.
“Six of our losses were by single digits, and four of those were by five points or less,” Francello said. “Those are the type of games where the little details you go over in practice are so important.”
With all but three players returning, Wilton enters the 2019-20 season as a much more experienced team.
“Everyone played during the off-season,” Francello said. “I think we will be improved. You don’t go from six wins one season to 17 the next, but I think we can win a few more games and take a step forward.”
Wilton’s returnees include three starters from last season: Senior point guard Zoe Rappaport, junior forward Riley Eaton, and sophomore shooting guard Leah Martins. Junior forward Callie Judelson also started several games for the Warriors.
Also back are senior guard Francesca Goncalves, junior forward Caitlin Greeff, sophomore guard Catherine Dineen, sophomore guard-forward Katie Umphred, and sophomore guard-forward Ellie Copley.
Varsity newcomers include sophomore power forward Bella Andjeklovic, sophomore guard-forward Brooke Bohacs, and freshman point guard Molly McLaughlin.
“One thing that’s really good is we have a lot of interchangeable parts,” Francello said. “That gives us flexibility in running different offenses and defenses.”
One thing the Warriors don’t have is a true center: None of this season’s players are over 5-foot-10.
“I keep having a recurring dream about a family moving to Wilton that has twin daughters who are 6-3,” Francello said. “It hasn’t happened yet.”
Like last season, the Warriors will look to keep opponents in check.
“We’re going to play defense and we’re going to rebound,” Francello said. “What we need to do is put the ball in the basket. We struggled to do that consistently last year and it hurt us.”
Notes: Wilton opens its season next Monday night (7 p.m.) at home against Weston in a non-conference game.
The Warriors allowed only 43.4 points per game in 2018-19 but scored just 36.5 themselves.
Rappaport received All-FCIAC honorable mention for her play last winter.