Girls basketball: WHS scores Senior Night win over McMahon

The Wilton girls basketball team finished the regular season with a 72-45 win over the Brien McMahon Senators Wednesday night at the Zeoli Fieldhouse.

It was also Senior Night and the Warriors honored their two seniors, co-captain Meghan Downey and Erica Smith.

The Warriors finished the regular season at 8-8 in the conference and 11-9 overall and will now wait for the opening round of the state tournament, scheduled to begin Feb. 28.

When Caroline Sweeny knocked down a 3-pointer, the Warriors had a quick 9-0 over the Senators less than three minutes into the contest. But the visitors would fight right back and finished the rest of the period outscoring the home team 15-6 to tie the score at 15-15 after one. Emily Tuin poured in eight points in the period to pace Wilton, while Aija Andrews did damage down low for McMahon with seven points.

A basket by Jescie Holmes to start the second quarter gave the Senators a 17-15 lead. But when Claire Gulbin hit a 3-pointer, it put the Warriors back in front 19-17, and Wilton would never trail again in the game. It was Gulbin’s turn for the hot hand, as she netted eight points in the period and the Warriors took a 35-28 lead into halftime.

Getting up early was a good sign for the Warriors, but head coach Rob Coloney knew the game was far from over.

“They are a well-coached team with a lot of good athletes so I knew they were going to bounce back at us,” said Coloney. “We got a little comfortable with the early lead, but we responded well to their counter punch, kept our composure and put up a big second half to get the win. It’s a bummer for our two seniors that we didn’t qualify for the conference post-season, but our season isn’t done yet.” When asked for one word that would describe the team’s season, Coloney responded, “Excited. Whether we won or lost we played a lot of exciting basketball this season. In games we won, we came out ready to play, in games we lost we didn’t match our opponents’ energy. For the players that will be back next year, I hope they look at this season as a learning tool for their future.”

The Warriors outscored the Senators 24-7 in the third quarter to carry a 59-35 lead into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter Coloney took out his two seniors, Downey and Smith, so they could get their much-deserved applause.

Downey, who is that player who gives you 110% every night out, played with a black eye she got in the Stamford game on Monday. She is usually the smallest player on the court, but makes it up with her hard play, hustle and heart.

“It was sad for me tonight knowing that this could be my last home game,” said Downey. “Some of my previous coaches and teachers from Our Lady of Fatima School were here to cheer me on and that was special. I know I’m not going to lead the team in scoring, but I know what my role is and I go out and try to do what I can to help my team.”

Coloney also cleared the bench in the final quarter and 13 Wilton players scored in the game. Tuin led the way with 15 points, followed by Gulbin with 10 points, Sweeny with eight points, and Anna Cocoros and Alexa Hirn with seven points each. Downey finished with five points.