Wilton comeback falls short against Danbury

The Wilton girls basketball team gathers around coach Fred Francello during a timeout in Thursday's game at Danbury.

The Wilton girls basketball team gathers around coach Fred Francello during a timeout in Thursday's game at Danbury.

Tim Murphy / Hearst Connecticut Media

By time the Wilton girls basketball team ran out of fouls, it had run out of time.

Four times in the final 10 seconds Wilton fouled Danbury players without sending them to the line. The Hatters successfully inbounded the ball after each foul, including one final time with 1.6 seconds left to clinch their 41-40 victory.

It was the third consecutive win for Danbury, which improved to 10-3 overall and 8-2 in the FCIAC. Wilton, meanwhile, had its five-game win streak end and is now 7-6 overall and 5-5 in the conference.

Danbury was ahead throughout and took a 37-27 lead on Chloe Perreault’s 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter. The hosts stayed in front, and when Tianna Rogers scored on a layup off a feed from Tealey Wallin their advantage was 41-33 with 1:26 to play.

It nearly slipped away.

Leah Martins sank a 3-pointer to pull Wilton within 41-36, and the Warriors got the ball back after forcing Danbury into a 10-second violation. Zoe Rappaport was fouled with 43.1 remaining and made one of two free throws to cut Danbury’s lead to 41-37.

Wilton’s Ellie Copley then intercepted a pass and drove for a layup, drawing a foul on the play. Copley hit the ensuing free throw to make it 41-40 with 24 seconds left.

Despite intense Wilton pressure, Danbury was able to get the ball over halfcourt before calling a timeout with 14.8 seconds on the clock. The Warriors then committed four fouls but were unable to get over the limit and send Danbury to the line before time expired.

“It’s youth,” Danbury coach Jackie DiNardo said about her team’s struggle to close out the victory. “I’ve got three sophomores out there and when they miss I call it a pity party ... they get all down and upset and now their head’s somewhere else. Who cares if you missed, just get back and play defense.”

Danbury’s 23-20 halftime lead was trimmed to one point when Rappaport got the first basket of the third quarter. But the Hatters scored seven straight points (five from Perreault) to go ahead 30-22. After Martins hit a 3-pointer, Danbury scored four of the next six points to take a 34-27 lead into the final period.

“We made some basketball mistakes, but that’s OK, every team does,” Wilton coach Fred Francello said. “But we made some mental mistakes ... I want each one of them to go back and think about one bonehead thing that they did. Not just in the last two minutes or the last quarter ... during the game. Those three points you lost in the second quarter make a difference, too.

“We didn’t shoot the ball well,” Francello added. “We had foul-line jumpers that we missed, three-pointers uncontested, put-backs that we missed and foul shots that we missed.”


Chloe Perreault, Danbury: The 5-foot-10 sophomore shooting guard/small forward scored a game-high 15 points, hitting three 3-pointers, including two in the second half. Perreault also grabbed several offensive rebounds to keep possession for the Hatters.


“I’m down guards due to injuries, so I’m just happy we hung on and got the victory.” — Danbury coach Jackie DiNardo, whose team played without Kianna Perry and Azariya Baptiste.


Wilton - 11 9 7 13 — 40

Danbury - 13 10 11 7 — 41

Wilton: Zoe Rappaport 3 1-2 9; Leah Martins 4 0-0 12; Riley Eaton 4 0-2 8; Ellie Copley 3 1-1 9; Callie Judelson 1 0-0 2. Totals: 15 2-5 40.

Danbury: Tianna Rogers 5 1-1 11; Chloe Perreault 5 2-6 15; Vivianna Flores 1 2-4 5; Tanisha Cunningham 3 0-0 6; Tealey Wallin 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 16 5-11 41.

3-pointers: Wilton: Martins 4, Rappaport 2, Copley 2; Danbury: Perreault 3, Flores 1.

Records: Wilton 7-6; Danbury 10-3.