Cunningham gets 1,000th point in easy Wilton win

With 1:45 remaining in the game, Wilton High senior co-captain Erin Cunningham sank the second of two free throws Monday night.

And with that shot, she entered rarefied territory.

The second free throw gave Cunningham 18 points for the game, and, more importantly, an even 1,000 points for her career. Cunningham becomes just the third Wilton girls player to reach the 1,000-point mark, following Candy Benson (1996) and Meghan Geronimo (2003).

Cunningham's effort helped the Warriors roll to their 18th consecutive win of the season, a 60-24 rout of visiting Norwalk at the Zeoli Field House.

Wilton is now 18-1 and will face Fairfield Warde (also 18-1) in the regular-season finale on Wednesday night at home to determine which team will get the top seed for the FCIAC playoffs, which begin Saturday at Westhill.

In Monday night’s game, Wilton got out to an early 10-2 lead on the strength of eight points by Erica Meyer, with the first three of her baskets coming off assists from Karen Brosko. Meyer, though, was slowed by two first-quarter fouls and had to come out of the game.

Ahead 14-5 after the first quarter, Wilton went cold and could manage just three points from the foul line in the second period until Cunningham hit her first basket of the night with 2:09 left in the quarter.

The Bears opened the period with a 7-1 run, cutting the home team’s lead to 15-12. But when Haley English threaded a pass past several Norwalk defenders and into the paint to Christina Holmgren for an easy basket, the Warriors regained their composure and had 21-14 lead — which became a 26-14 advantage at halftime.

Cunningham had only six points at the break after missing her first six shots from the field.

“I was pushing too hard early and thinking about the 1,000 points and didn’t get off to a good start,” said Cunningham. “I think not being in school today (President's Day holiday) got me out of my rhythm, and my teammates were trying to get me the ball, which I think affected their play also."

Cunningham, who was a perfect nine for nine on free throws, scored her final four points of the game from the line.

The Warriors took control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring Norwalk, 20-2, in the period. Cunningham closed the period with three baskets, including one on an assist from Brosko, who passed up an easy breakaway layup of her own to feed Cunningham and get her closer to the 1,000-point mark.

“I’m very happy for Erin; she has worked hard to achieve this and she is very deserving to be in the 1,000 [point] club for Wilton,” said head coach Jaclyn Porco. “We now can turn our focus to Wednesday’s game against Warde. The team has been working hard and knows the importance of this game. From a mental standpoint, if we don’t come away with a win against Warde, but play well and it’s a close game, we will be able to take it as a positive and build off it."

In addition to Cunningham’s 18 points, Meyer finished with 14 points and English added 13 points for the Warriors.