Wilton girls hoop team cruises in FCIAC quarterfinals

In an FCIAC quarterfinal game Saturday afternoon, the Wilton High girls basketball team answered a pertinent question: Which Warrior squad would show up?

Fortunately for Wilton, the answer was the one that opened the season 11-0 and wants to make a post-season impact.

The second-seeded Warriors handedly defeated seventh-seed Fairfield Ludlowe, 48-29, at Westhill High School in Stamford, easily advancing to the conference semifinals. Wilton (18-3) will now meet sixth-seed Greenwich (16-5) on Tuesday night at Fairfield Ludlowe (time TBD). Greenwich edged third-seed Westhill, 55-51, in another quarterfinal Saturday.

Wilton, which lost two of its final three regular-season games, including a 49-46 setback to Ludlowe, opened Saturday's game with a 6-0 run, holding the Falcons without a basket in the first five minutes of play. The Warriors led 13-5 after the first quarter, with Erica Meyer putting in seven points in the opening eight minutes.

“It was extremely important for us to get out on them early,” said Wilton head coach Jaclyn Porco. “The team wanted to come out and prove to everybody that they are better than the team that played Ludlowe the last time.

"Getting this win is a relief for the team; it proves they can bounce back from a couple of sub-par games," added Porco. "The team came out and did everything we asked them to do; they executed the game plan perfectly. Going into the game we talked a lot about defense, and we told them if they play hard on defense everything should fall in place."

Midway through the second quarter, Wilton's Erin Cunningham connected on back-to-back three-pointers from the wing to put her team ahead 22-8, giving the Warriors a double-digit lead that they would not relinquish. Wilton led 27-12 at halftime.

“The win gets us back to where we were earlier in the season. We came out more prepared and with excitement and fixed our lapses that we had the last time we played them,” said Cunningham. “This team needs someone to get hot early in the game, and I’m happy I was able to fill that role today."

Both teams committed several turnovers in the first half, however the difference was that Wilton was able to convert those turnovers into points.

Wilton kept up its spirited play in the second half, never allowing the Falcons any hope of a comeback. The Wilton defense was also aided by Ludlowe’s missed chances on put-back attempts in the paint.

Both teams each shot 50 percent from the foul line, with Wilton going 10 of 20 and Ludlowe connecting on eight of 16 free throws.

With Wilton ahead 38-20 after three quarters, the Warriors slowed the pace  in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter.

Wilton got quality contributions from several players. Cunningham finished with 15 points and six rebounds; Meyer had 11 points; Haley English contributed eight points and five assists; and Christina Holmgren chipped in with seven points and led the team with seven rebounds off the bench. Makenna Pearsall added five steals for the Warriors.