Girls basketball: Wilton suffers tough loss at Bassick

Bassick broke a 58-58 tie with an 8-1 run over the final four minutes to hand the Wilton High girls basketball team a tough 66-59 loss on Friday night in Bridgeport.

It was the third loss in four games for the Warriors, leaving head coach Rob Coloney searching for answers.

“As coaches, we need to do a better job to prepare our team for pressure and intensity. We didn’t take care of the ball as well as I would’ve liked tonight — 24 turnovers will make it difficult to defeat any opponent," he said. "I thought we battled hard and had some bright spots but in the end, missed free throws and carelessness cost us."

The Warriors dropped to 5-3 with the loss, while Bassick improved to 7-2.

Coloney said Wilton knew the Lions presented a big challenge and was disappointed the Warriors didn’t respond well to Bassick’s aggressive, ball-hawking defensive play — which helped lead to Wilton 24 turnovers.

“Bassick did a great job tonight keeping us off-balance, and we didn’t handle pressure well enough, or as well as seniors should be handling pressure at this stage of their careers,” he said. “I knew they were going to be good. They’re well-coached, they play hard and they hit open shots. It’s tough to beat a team like that when you turn the ball as many times as we did.”

As Coloney noted, it was a physical and often sloppy game (38 total turnovers) with both teams making runs before the Lions pulled out the game with the last run.

Wilton had closed out the first half with an 18-6 run, taking a 36-34 halftime lead on Caroline Sweeny’s 3-pointer right before the buzzer.

The Warriors had their biggest lead of the game, 39-34, when Claire Gulbin opened the third quarter on a conventional three-point play after a drive to the hoop. Wilton's last lead of the night was 41-39, when Lauren Robertson scored inside off a nice high-low pass from Liz Breslin.

The Lions regained the lead, 42-41, on Cash’e Rogers’ 3-pointer. The lead grew to five points before Emily Tuin swished a 3-pointer from the top of the key with under 10 seconds left, making it 51-49 Bassick after three quarters.

The Warriors tied the score, 51-51, on two free throws by Tuin to open the fourth quarter, but squandered several chances to grab the lead with some errant passes.

A Gulbin 3-pointer and free throw by Tuin tied the game at 58-58 with four minutes to go. The Lions went ahead for good, 60-58, when Rogers drove the lane and dished to Destiny Martinez for a layup.

Neither team could score for several minutes after that, before Rogers drained a 3-pointer with just over a minute left to put the Lions up 64-59. The Warriors managed only a free throw over the final four minutes.

Despite the loss, Coloney remained unbeat about the Warriors as the season moves on.

"We are an experienced, talented and motivated group. We will learn from this and hopefully start to turn things around in conference play," he said. "There is a ton of season left, and I have all of the confidence in the world in this group. They are determined and extremely coachable. I just need to do a better job in our preparation, and when they execute as well as I know that they can, we will be fine. A tough stretch is temporary. We are not going to let this disrupt us long term.”

Rogers was a headache all night for the Wilton defense, with her ability to get into the lane and score, or set up teammates, or hit 3-pointers. She led Bassick with 26 points (three 3-pointers) and six assists. Britany Elliot had 18 points (two 3-pointers) and six rebounds, and Kiana Johnson hit for 10 points.

For Wilton, Tuin finished the night with 15 points, five assists and five rebounds, and Sweeny had 13 points, 14 rebounds and four steals

Gulbin and Breslin each had nine points, with Breslin also contributing seven rebounds and four assists. Robertson hit for seven points and had eight rebounds, while Zoe Rappaport had a solid game off the bench with six points and three rebounds.