Strazza helps Wilton beat McMahon in finale
On Senior Night, the Wilton High girls basketball team had a senior lead the way to a season-ending victory.
Sophia Strazza scored 10 points in the fourth quarter as the host Warriors defeated Brien McMahon, 45-38, on Wednesday night at the Zeoli Fieldhouse.
Strazza’s first bucket of the final period tied the game at 31-31 with 7:34 to play. On Wilton's next trip down the floor, Strazza drained a 3-pointer with 5:22 to play for Wilton's first lead since early in the opening quarter. Strazza added five more points to help the Warriors close out the victory.
“I looked over into the stands and saw my fellow classmates and friends who came out to support us, so I gave it everything I had; I didn’t want to leave anything out there,” said Strazza, who finished with a game-high 15 points. “The coach always tells us if you have an open shot take it, so I had open looks and I got them to fall.
“I didn’t let the emotion of Senior Night get to me during the game, and when I looked up at the scoreboard and saw we were up 44-38, I knew we were going to go out as winners in my last game.”
McMahon (3-17) kept the game close and trailed by only two points, 40-38, with two minutes to play. A 3-pointer from freshman Leah Martins opened a five-point lead for Wilton, which then held the Senators scoreless over the final 1:45.
Although Strazza brought home the victory for the Warriors with her fourth-quarter performance, it was the team's younger players who carried the load for the first three periods. Sophomore Reilly Eaton and freshman Elizabeth Copley each contributed seven points, keeping the game close going into the final eight minutes. All of Eaton’s points came in the first half, while Copley had two key third-quarter baskets during a Wilton run.
McMahon closed the first quarter on a 5-0 run to break a 9-9 tie and go ahead 14-9 entering the second quarter. Wilton whittled away at McMahon’s lead and forged a 21-21 halftime tie when senior co-captain Maddie Burke hit a short shot with 20 seconds left in the second period.
The third quarter was one of runs. The Senators came out of halftime and went on a 10-0 run to open a 31-21 lead. But Wilton answered with an 8-0 spurt, ending the third quarter down 31-29.
Even though the Warriors finished the season with a 6-14 record — two victories shy of qualifying for the state tournament — first-year head coach Fred Francello was happy with the progress he saw from his team.
“I told my players at the beginning of the season that winning games was our top priority. But knowing we were young and inexperienced, I told them what I needed to see was improvement in all facets of their play as the season went on,” Francello said. “And you could see from our play over the last several games we did that.
“We had great performances our last two games against Danbury and Trumbull, and I told the girls let’s not have a letdown and let's end the season on a positive note,” Francello added. “They showed me a lot of courage and guts tonight, especially when we were down by 10 points in the third quarter. They pulled it together and got the win on their special night.”
Notes: Zoe Rappaport (six points), Martins (four), Callie Judelson (two), Catherine Dineen (two), and Burke (two) also scored for Wilton.