Girls basketball: Warriors outlast Tigers in OT

After scoring only 18 points in the first half, the Wilton High girls basketball team found its range, and its intensity, to rally for a 51-45 overtime win at Ridgefield on Tuesday night.

It was the seventh straight win for the Warriors, who improved to 12-3 overall and 9-2 in the FCIAC.

Wilton outscored the Tigers 34-20 after intermission, including 6-0 in the four-minute overtime period.

“We didn’t play too well in the first half. We missed a lot of layups in the second quarter,” said head coach Rob Coloney, who told his players at halftime he “wanted them to understand it’s okay to lose but it’s not okay to lose without effort.”

Wilton upped its game after halftime, he said.

“They stepped up. I have to give a lot of credit to all of our seniors, especially the captains,” he said. “We didn’t play very well, but we grinded it out. I think good teams find a way to do that, and we found a way to do that tonight.”

Ridgefield dropped to 10-5 with the loss. Coloney said the young Tigers (10 of the team's 11 players are freshmen and sophomores) showed a lot of toughness defensively and under the boards, with 20 offensive rebounds.

It was the first-ever win over Ridgefield as varsity players for this group of Wilton players.

Claire Gulbin was a big catalyst in the second half. After scoring only one field goal in the first half, the senior guard had five baskets after halftime, including four big 3-pointers in the third quarter.

Coloney said the team’s other two captains, Emily Tuin and Caroline Sweeney, “played lights-out” in the second half.

Gulbin led Wilton with 18 points and also had three assists and two steals, while Tuin had 12 points (including four of the six overtime points) and Sweeny finished with eight points, 12 rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Wilton never led during regulation, but did tie the game up in the fourth quarter. Ridgefield held the ball much of the final two to three minutes, and took a 45-43 lead with 35 seconds left. Wilton answered with a driving bucket by Tuin to tie up the game. Both teams missed opportunities to win in regulation time.

Getting into overtime seemed to fire up the Warriors, said Coloney.

“I think getting the fresh start really gave the girls the mental push they needed,” he said.

Elizabeth Breslin had eight points and four rebounds for Wilton, and Lauren Robertson contributed three points and seven rebounds. Zoe Rappaport stepped up big off the bench, especially when Breslin fouled out with four minutes left in regulation. Rappaport had two points, and two rebounds, and came up with a big steal in overtime.

Caroline Curnal led the Tigers with 13 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Katie Flynn hit for nine points and Megan Klosowski had six points.

Rounding out the scoring were Faith Arnold (5 points), Sabrina Grizzaffi (4 points), Claire Tannian (3 points), Kate Garson (3 points) and Kate Wagner (2 points).

Arnold and Tannian each had a 3-pointer.