Wilton girls look for turnaround in states

Leah Martins and the Wilton girls hoop team play at Suffield in the first round of the state tournament.

Leah Martins and the Wilton girls hoop team play at Suffield in the first round of the state tournament.

Gretchen McMahon / For Hearst Connecticut Media

After ending the regular season with four consecutive losses, the Wilton girls basketball team will look to turn things around in the Class L state tournament.

Seeded 20th, Wilton plays at 13th-seed Suffield in an opening-round game Tuesday night at 6:30. The winner faces either fourth-seed Daniel Hand or 29th-seed South Windsor in a second-round game next Friday at 6:30 at the home of the higher seed.

The Warriors finished the regular season with a 10-10 record following a 44-32 road loss to Ridgefield last Wednesday.

“It’s the way the schedule fell,” Wilton coach Fred Francello said. “We began with four tough games and we ended with four tough ones.”

Last Wednesday’s game was a defensive battle, with Wilton leading 5-2 at the end of the first quarter and then scoring the opening two points of the second quarter to go ahead 7-2. But Kelly Chittenden’s 3-pointer began an 11-2 Ridgefield run that gave the hosts a 13-11 lead.

Down 15-14 at halftime, Wilton went ahead 20-19 midway through the third quarter. After Ridgefield regained the lead, Riley Eaton scored with 56 seconds left to put the Warriors in front, 22-21.

That, however, was the final lead of the game for Wilton. The Tigers scored the final three points of the third quarter to go ahead 25-22 and then pulled away in the final eight minutes.

“We played so disciplined on defense in the first three quarters and then it was like someone threw a switch,” Francello said. “We made a bunch of silly mistakes defensively in the final period.”

Ellie Copley was a bright spot for Wilton, finishing with 14 points and five rebounds.

“Ellie has improved so much from last year and has really been coming on lately,” Francello said. “I think she’s surprised a lot of other coaches and teams.”

Callie Judelson and Catherine Dineen each added four points for Wilton, which was playing its third game without senior Zoe Rappaport (season-ending shoulder surgery).

“She’s our best on-ball defender,” Francello said about Rappaport, who is Wilton’s only senior. “We definitely miss her.”

Cali Stietzel scored eight of her team-high 11 points for Ridgefield in the fourth quarter. Cara Sheafe added 10 points for the Tigers, who are 15-6 after beating Danbury in the FCIAC quarterfinals.

“They are a good, physical team,” Francello said about Ridgefield. “It’s always really tough when you play them on the road.”