Osborne, Warde take down Wilton girls hoop team

The Wilton High girls basketball team didn’t have an answer for Fairfield Warde’s Shania Osborne.

Osborne, Warde's imposing center, scored a career-high 27 points and dominated the paint for the Mustangs in their 45-33 win over Wilton on Tuesday night at the Zeoli Field House.

The loss was the third consecutive setback for the Warriors (4-5) and their fifth defeat in the last six games.

Neither team put forth a good offensive effort in the first half, with the Warriors netting their first points of the game with 3:31 left in the opening quarter. Osborne scored the first five points of the game and had seven in the period, which ended with Warde ahead, 10-8.

Wilton had a short-lived lead in the second quarter before Warde (9-1) went in front, 20-16, at halftime. The game's flow was interrupted several times in the first half due to tie-up calls as the defenses out-performed the offenses.

The Warriors had 15 turnovers in the first half (26 for the game), were not playing aggressive enough to win loose balls, and allowed the visitors to bring down too many offensive rebounds. The Warde defense was quick to adjust to the Warriors' offense, and Wilton helped out the visitors several times by dribbling into trouble. But all that said, the Warriors still trailed by only four points at the break.

Wilton pulled to within two points, 22-20, early in the third period after a Karen Brosko fast-break basket. But the Warriors could manage just one more basket in the period, and Warde closed the quarter on 12-2 run to lead 34-22 going into the final quarter.

Each team added 11 points in the fourth period, as the Warriors not able to mount a comeback.

Wilton, which won the Class LL state title last season, is clearly going through some growing pains, primarily because so many players lack varsity experience. The Warriors graduated four of their five starters from last year’s team.

“Clearly, we’re having problems scoring and playing as a unit," said first-year Wilton head coach Rob Coloney. “We lack the varsity level experience and that’s something that takes time to work out. The games are faster and more competitive.

"Even though we haven’t played well over the last several games, no one has blown us out; we’ve played good defense that has kept us in all our games," added Coloney. "There is still a lot of season left and I feel we are not far off from playing better.”

Coloney went on to mention his team's shortcomings against Warde.

“We turned the ball over too many times, played very timid on both ends of the court, and we failed to execute our offensive game-plan," he said. "We also were too soft in our defense of Osborne. We didn’t move her off her spot and push her away from the basket.”

Brosko led the Warriors with 10 points. Caroline Sweeny added five points, and Emily Tuin and Claire Gulbin each chipped in four points. Gulbin went four-for-four from the foul line for her points.