It’s hard to believe that less than 12 months ago the Wilton and Trumbull girls basketball teams played for the FCIAC championship.
Trumbull won that game and will be the top seed and favorite when this year's conference playoffs begin next Saturday. The Eagles are unbeaten in the FCIAC (14-0) and 17-1 overall.
Wilton, on the other hand, is struggling. After losing most of their key players to graduation, the Warriors have won just five of 18 games.
It was no surprise then that Trumbull dominated Friday night's game at Wilton High. The Eagles built a 15-point lead by the end of the first quarter and went on to beat Wilton, 65-39.
The loss officially ended Wilton's quest of qualifying for the state tournament for a ninth straight year. The Warriors are 5-13 overall with two regular-season games remaining — teams must have at least eight wins to make states.
Four 3-pointers from four different players gave Trumbull a 12-0 lead. The Eagles added three more treys to go ahead 22-7 after one quarter.
Trumbull kept firing away in the second quarter, connecting on three more 3-pointers and taking a 39-19 lead into halftime. Sophomores Cassi Barbato and Ali Palmieri led the Eagles in the first half, with Barbato scoring all 12 of her points and Palmieri adding 11 of her 15 points.
“They’re a very talented, well disciplined, tough team and they were just too much for our young team,” said Wilton head coach Fred Francello. “It didn’t matter what defense we could have played against them; it wasn’t going to work. But the positive takeaways for our team were that we did some things better tonight than we have all season long and we scored 39 points against one of the best teams in this league.”
Another bright spot was the play of freshman Elizabeth Copley, who came off the bench to lead Wilton with 13 points.
“The speed of play at the varsity level is much faster than travel basketball, which was one of the biggest adjustments for me,” said Copley. “What also was new for me was my teammates. It takes a while to get used to the new players' talents and playing style. Tonight my teammates told me to believe in myself and my talent and go out and play. That gave me the confidence to have the game I did.”
Wilton was unable to make a comeback in the second half. Trumbull led 57-32 after three quarters and then outscored the Warriors, 8-7, in a low-scoring final period.
“The way my bench players played late in the game is all you can ask of your team,” said Francello. “They didn’t quit on themselves, their teammates or the coaches, which says a lot for the team.”
Notes: In addition to Copley’s 13 points, Zoe Rappaport had nine points for the Warriors.