Girls basketball: Quick start by Danbury sends Wilton to first loss

The visiting Danbury Hatters put up an early double-digit lead on the Wilton girls basketball team and rode it to a convincing 54-37 victory on Friday night at the Zeoili Field House.

The Warriors could not put any check marks in their boxes of things they needed to do to come away with a win. They didn’t reach their scoring goals and didn’t play tough defense, which were the main keys in the defeat.

Wilton head coach Rob Coloney hopes the loss turns into a lesson learned.

“Danbury came out and showed that they clearly wanted to win the game more than we did,” said Coloney. “They (Danbury) had already lost their two first non-conference games and came to the floor tonight looking to right their ship. We didn’t bring the effort we need to win games tonight and I hope they will learn what kind of effort and focus it takes in this league.

“We know that they had a height advantage on us and we had a game plan for it. We just didn’t execute it and that’s my fault. They put up an early lead on us and we were never able to cut into their lead.”

The Hatters had a 22-10 lead after the first quarter, as the Danbury players cut to the hoop uncontested and, when they missed their shots, were there for the second-chance baskets. Wilton got off good shots in the period but they couldn’t get them to fall. Two 3-pointers by co-captain Claire Gulbin in the quarter was the Warriors’ only bright spot.

Gulbin drained another 3-pointer to open the Warriors scoring in the second quarter, but Wilton could only match the Hatters' point total in the period and couldn’t cut into the lead. Danbury had a 33-21 lead at halftime, led by 12 points by Zoe Coleman, coming from points in the paint.

The Hatters increased their lead to 18 by the end of the third quarter, 45-27. The Warriors never got closer than 12 points in the period. Wilton did a better job in the second half in closing the lane to cutting Danbury players, but Danbury was controlling the boards at both ends of the court to maintain the comfortable lead.

Wilton didn’t help itself either by going only eight for 20 from the free throw line. Danbury was 14 for 26 from the foul line.

Down by 18 points going into the final eight minutes of play, the Warriors didn’t give up and did their best to make a game of it. The Warriors drove to the basket and got fouled to go to the line, forced nine Hatter turnovers in the period, and held their opponent scoreless early in the period. But Wilton couldn’t convert any of its efforts into points to provide hope for a comeback win.

Gulbin led the Warriors with 11 points, followed by co-captain Caroline Sweeny with nine points and Laura Robertson with six points.

Coleman led all scorers with 17 points and Andreah Orr added 11 points for Danbury.

The loss puts the Warriors record at 1-1, while the win improved the Hatters to 1-2 on the season.