Girls basketball: Warriors top Wave, clinch state playoff berth
After Darien scored three points as time expired in the first quarter, to put the Blue Wave up six points, the Wilton High girls basketball team went on an offensive tear to cruise to a 64-43 win on Tuesday night at the Zeoli Fieldhouse.
The defense also came up huge to shut down the visitors’ twin offensive threats.
With the win, the Warriors (8-3 overall, 7-2 FCIAC) clinched a berth in the state playoffs. The loss dropped Darien to 5-7 on the season.
Wilton outscored Darien 14-1 in the second quarter to take a 26-19 lead into halftime.
The Warriors kept their effort going at both ends of the court in the final two quarters, again outscoring the Blue Wave 23-14 in the third quarter and 15-10 in the fourth quarter.
“We executed our game plan to a ‘T’ as they did everything just how we drew it up,” said Wilton head coach Rob Coloney. “We told them to look for the backdoor cuts, make the extra pass and look for the gaps on offense. They responded to what we said to them and to what they saw on the court.”
Coloney of course was pleased that four of his five starters finished in double figures, but after the game he was singing the praises of two of those players’ defensive efforts.
“A lot of credit for this win goes to seniors Elizabeth Breslin and Lauren Robertson, who both did a tremendous job on defense to hold their scoring threats in check the entire game. They both worked hard all game long to keep them away from the boards and taking them out of their rhythm.”
Coloney was talking about Darien’s two 6’0” seniors, Katie Ramsay and Christine Fiore.
“The coach told us to focus on shutting Ramsay and Fiore by clogging up the middle and keeping them off the boards. They are both capable of scoring 20 or more points to lead their team and we didn’t want that to happen,” said Breslin.
It was Breslin who fouled Fiore as the buzzer sounded to end the first quarter. Fiore’s shot went in and she made the free-throw for the 18-12 lead after one.
“I really made a dumb play by letting her get off the shot and fouling her. But as the coach stated when we do things like that to have a short memory and put it behind you, and that’s what we did. We fought right back to start the second quarter and pulled ahead.”
In the second quarter a 3-pointer by Claire Gulbin put the Warriors in front for good, 21-19, with 4:12 to play in the quarter. Gulbin added another 3-pointer the next trip down the floor and the home team never looked back.
With the exception of 14 turnovers in the second half, which Darien didn’t capitalize on, and going 0-for-6 from the foul line, the Warriors were firing on all cylinders. They did just like the coach stated — they played as a cohesive unit working the ball around looking for the open look and easy basket.
The Blue Wave had six turnovers in the second quarter and nine in the second half.
Senior co-captains Caroline Sweeny and Gulbin led the Warriors with 16 and 14 points, respectively, while Breslin and Robertson added 10 points each. Gulbin tallied four 3-pointers in the game for 12 of her 14 points.
The Blue Wave was led by Ramsay with 14 points, Fiore with 12 points and Gwen Dolce with 11 points.