Girls hoop team is Wilton's Sports Persons of the Year

Several months after making program history, the state champion Wilton High girls basketball team and head coach Jaclyn Woitkowski Porco are still receiving accolades.

A prestigious one was bestowed on Wednesday morning, when the Fairfield County Sports Commission announced its 2015 Sports Persons of the Year in each of the 16 communities the Commission directly serves.

The Warriors, who won the first girls basketball state title in school history in March, were chosen as the winners from Wilton and will be recognized — along with the other town winners — at the 11th annual Sports Night awards dinner, Monday, Oct. 19, at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich at 6 p.m.

In each of the 16 communities, a committee headed by a local town representative of the Commission selected a Sports Person of the Year. Each winner was deemed to have had the most positive impact in their sports community from Aug. 2014 to Aug. 2015.

Wilton won the Class LL state championship in March by routing top-seed South Windsor, 73-45, in the title game at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville.

The Warriors, who were seeded second in the Class LL field, finished the 2014-15 season with a 25-2 record.

The state title came in the final game for Wilton’s senior-powered team, which had been unable to win either conference or state titles in the previous three seasons.

But against South Windsor in the Class LL finals, the Warriors played nearly a flawless game, taking an 8-0 lead and going ahead by 20 points, 45-25, at halftime.

“What better place for the seniors to have a great game [other] than the state championship,” said Wilton head coach Jaclyn Woitkowski Porco, following the victory. “I told them to go out and play for yourselves and your teammates. The team came out so focused and mentally prepared that nothing was going to get in their way of a victory.”

“These seniors (Erin Cunningham, Erica Meyer, Makenna Pearsall, Haley English, Hannah Maatallah) are a special group and not just for what they do on the court,” added Porco. “I’m so thrilled for these girls, who worked hard every day and they finally got what they deserved — a chance to raise a trophy.”

Cunningham excelled in the championship game, scoring 33 points and grabbing 19 rebounds to lead the Warriors and earn MVP honors. Cunningham ended her career with 1,130 points and became the top scorer in program history.

Meyer, Wilton’s 6’3” center who will play at Providence this winter, added 17 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots in the title contest. Pearsall contributed 10 points, five rebounds, five assists, and five steals, while English had three points, four rebounds and four assists. Junior forward Karen Brosko finished with four points and five assists.

“In a town dominated by lacrosse and soccer, we helped put basketball on the map,” said Cunningham after the game.

Notes: The other choices for Sports Persons of the Year are:

Bridgeport: The late Ken Shepard, former Bridgeport Bluefish general manager.

Darien: The Darien High School boys hockey team, which won the Division I state championship.

Easton: The Joel Barlow High School softball team, which set a school record with 17 wins and was conference runner-up.

Fairfield — Fairfield Warde High School wrestlers Charlie and Tim Kane, who won Class L  and State Open titles.

Greenwich: Greenwich High School girls golf standout Catherine McEvoy, who won Connecticut Women's Amateur Championship.

Monroe: The Monroe Little League 10/11-year-old softball team, which won a state championship.

New Canaan: New Canaan High School football standout Zach Allen, the Gatorade State Player of the Year.

Newtown: The late Joe Mailloux, a longtime sports community leader and coach.

Norwalk: Brien McMahon High School All-American distance runner Eric van der Els.

Shelton: Garrett and Peter Gintoli, who were members of the bronze-medal winning Team USA Deaflympics hockey squad.

Stamford: USA Boxing national champion Chordale Booker.

Stratford: The Class L state champion Bunnell High School boys basketball team.

Trumbull: Trumbull High School wrestler Cross Cannone, who won Class LL and State Open championships.

Weston: Carla and Sean Welsh, Weston Basketball Association and Weston High School Boosters Club members.

Westport: Mike Paliotta, who made his debut in the National Hockey League.

The Fairfield County Sports Commission is a 501c3 non-profit organization that aims to promote fitness and personal development through sports. The Commission, with the exception of the executive director, is an all-volunteer group that gives financial support and resources back to its communities, primarily focused on the 110,000 school-age youngsters it can reach with its fitness awareness education programs under its Chelsea Cohen Fitness Academy.

For more information concerning tickets and sponsorship opportunities for Sports Night, visit www.fairfieldcountysports.com or call (203) 251-8481.