Girls basketball: Warriors hope rout of Cadets is sign of turnaround

Junior co-captain Emily Tuin scored a season-high 15 points and the Wilton High girls basketball team turned in an excellent defensive performance en route to a convincing 46-24 win over the St. Joseph Cadets on Tuesday night at the Zeoli Fieldhouse.

Tuin, who has been in a bit of a season-long slump, drained two 3-pointers, two two-point buckets and was five-for-eight from the free-throw line.

“We all have been struggling shooting and with the level of intensity that we bring to the court, so we’ve been working hard on both in practice,” said Tuin. “We all know what our abilities are on the court and what we are capable of as a team. Tonight’s game will help me with my confidence, knowing that if I bring my intensity and focus to the floor, good things will happen.”

The Warriors clearly brought a higher level of energy into the game, as compared to recent games, and clearly wanted to come away with the victory more than the Cadets. Several times down the floor the Cadets looked defeated after missing on their one shot attempt and retreated back to play defense.

The game got off to a slow start from a scoring standpoint as the score read 3-3 with 4:28 remaining in the first quarter. Attribute the Cadets lack of scoring to the Warriors’ defense, which forced their opponent into long offensive possessions working the ball around the perimeter, looking for an open shot.

St Joe’s did have an early 3-0 lead when Megan Robertson hit a 3-pointer from the corner. Wilton’s slow start was due to not knocking down its early shots. Tuin connected on two foul shots to give the Warriors a 7-5 lead after one quarter.

Wilton caught fire in the second quarter, outscoring the Cadets 20-6 for a 27-11 halftime lead. The outburst was fueled by the Warriors’ defense, which forced the Cadets into committing 10 turnovers, which the Warriors converted into points. The Warriors scored 11 straight points during the period to take control of the game.

Tuin and co-captain Claire Gulbin had the hot hands for the home team, netting eight points each in the second quarter. Gulbin had two 3-pointers in the second-quarter run.

Anna Cocoros went off the glass for a bucket to begin the third quarter and the Warriors were on their way to outscoring St. Joe’s in the period, 10-6, giving them a comfortable 34-17 lead going into the final eight minutes.

The Warriors kept the St. Joseph offense in check in the fourth quarter to come away with the 22-point win, which put their overall record at 5-4. They improved to 4-3 in the conference.

“We picked up a win tonight against a very good team that is well coached,” said Wilton head coach Rob Coloney. “We’ve been telling the team, we no longer can use the excuse that we’re a young team. They have to carry themselves with pride and play to the level that I know they’re capable of playing. I’ve coached these girls for a long time, so I know what they can do. I want to hold them accountable for the way they play and keep a positive attitude.”

He continued, “The defense played great for us tonight and the team gave me a 100% effort and we outworked our opponent and that’s what gave us the convincing win. We just need to continue on this path the rest of the way.”

In addition to Tuin’s 15 points, Gulbin added 10 points and co-captains Caroline Sweeny and Megan Downey chipped in with four points each for the Warriors.

It was the fourth loss in a row for St. Joseph, which dropped to 6-5 on the season.