Norwalk pulls away to beat Wilton girls hoop team

On paper, Friday afternoon's game had mismatch written all over it: A young and struggling Wilton girls basketball team — losers of four straight games — hosting unbeaten Norwalk.

But when Leah Martins went coast to coast for a layup midway through the second quarter, Wilton trailed by only five points, 22-17.

Then it was time for Norwalk to show why it is considered one of the FCIAC's top teams this season.

Taking advantage of Wilton's turnovers and poor shot selection, the Bears closed the quarter on a 7-1 run to open a 29-18 halftime lead. And when the Warriors got within eight points in the third period, Norwalk responded with an 8-2 run to go ahead 40-26 entering the final quarter.

Norwalk's Ashley Wilson then hit two three-pointers at the start of the fourth period as the visitors pulled away for a 57-32 victory at the Zeoli Fieldhouse.

"We approached tonight’s game the same as the other games this year by applying full-court pressure and  playing man-to-man defense; however, we didn’t play as aggressive as we needed to play and that made for a close game early,” Norwalk head coach Ricky Fuller said. “Wilton made some early runs on us to keep within striking distance, but our team came up with stops when we needed them.”

Wilton's lone lead came early, as back-to-back baskets from Callie Judelson and Zoe Rappaport put the Warriors ahead 4-3. Norwalk then embarked on an 11-4 run to go ahead 14-8 at the end of the first quarter.

Norwalk's next run closed the second quarter and produced a 29-18 halftime lead.

“We lost our patience several times on offense when we started to make a run at them, and Norwalk took advantage of it to get back their lead,” Wilton head coach Fred Francello said. “Norwalk is one of the top teams in the conference, and when our team looked up at the scoreboard and saw the score was close, I think we lost our focus and that affected our play.

"I feel we made some progress tonight," Francello added. "Our down-low players took the open six-to-eight-foot jumpers and we had a better first half."

But the Warriors hurt themselves with numerous turnovers and fouls. Norwalk attempted 32 free throws, converting 17 of them.

Wilson finished with a game-high 19 points for the Bears (4-0). Teammate Jakara Murray-Leach added 11 points.

Sophomore Riley Eaton paced Wilton with seven points. Rappaport contributed six points for the Warriors, who fell to 1-5 with their fourth straight loss.