Strong second half carries Greenwich past Wilton

Settling matters in the second half, the Greenwich girls basketball team remained undefeated with a 66-55 win over host Wilton on Tuesday night at the Zeoli Field House.

The game was tied 21-21 at halftime, but the Cardinals outscored Wilton, 45-34, in the final two quarters to improve their record to 6-0.

Going into the game, Wilton head coach  Rob Coloney knew his team had a tall order: Trying to keep Greenwich's 6'4'' senior center, Abby Wolf, from dominating the paint and also hoping her teammates would have an off-night on the perimeter.

“We knew that we were going to have to play a perfect game and hopefully get some breaks along the way,” said Coloney. “Our team came out and executed the game-plan perfectly, and I’m proud of the way the team played and the effort they gave me.

"They did a good job in the first half limiting Wolf’s touches and holding her to five points," added Coloney. "I didn’t want to change that in the second half, but they started connecting on their outside shots and Wolf found a way to get open down low in the third quarter. We kind of ran out of gas, but we hung with one of the best teams in the state and we will take a lot of positive things away from this game.”

The contest got off to a slow start, with both teams shooting poorly from the field. A Caroline Sweeny basket at the buzzer gave the Warriors a 10-7 lead after one quarter.

Greenwich opened the second quarter on a 5-0 run to take a 12-10 lead and the score stayed close the entire period. With time winding down, Wilton's Meghan Downey drove the lane for a basket and was fouled. Downey sank her free throw to put the Warriors ahead, 21-18.

With 1.2 seconds left in the half, Greenwich inbounded under the Wilton basket and threw the ball out of bounds. The Warriors then had their inbound attempt picked off by Greenwich's Emma Banker, who hit a three-pointer just before the buzzer to tie the score at 21-21.

Several Wilton players got in foul trouble in the first half, forcing Coloney to use his bench.

“We had a lot of players on the floor that have very little varsity experience, but they played great and didn’t crack under the pressure," said Coloney. "Our team is still learning, and I hope tonight’s game will prove to them that they have what it takes to be competitive."

Greenwich opened the second half with a basket to take the lead, but a Karen Brosko three-pointer and two baskets by Christina Holmgren gave Wilton a 28-23 advantage.

The Cardinals quickly answered to tie the score at 28-28 before Wilton regained its five-point lead at 33-28 on a Claire Gulbin three-pointer and a basket off the glass from Holmgren with 3:47 to play in the period.

In the game's decisive stretch, Greenwich closed the quarter with a 16-6 run to go ahead, 44-39, heading into the final eight minutes. Wolf got past the Warriors' defense for eight points in the period.

Wilton got as close as three points early in the fourth quarter following another Holmgren basket, and later closed within six points, 61-55, after Sarah Fitzgerald tallied five straight points. But the Cardinals then scored the game's final five points to nail down the victory.

Fitzgerald paced the Warriors with 13 points, followed by Holmgren with 12 points, Gulbin with nine points, Brosko with seven points, and Sweeny with six points.

Greenwich's Wolf led all scorers with 15 points.