Wilton teams win youth basketball titles
Girls 8th Grade
The players on Wilton's 8th grade girls travel team finished their youth careers on a high note, beating North Haven, 39-33, to win the A Division title in the Fairfield County Basketball League. Wilton's stout defense shut down North Haven, which came into the contest averaging 57 points per game in the tournament.
Girls 7th/8th Grade
When the Wilton 7th/8th grade girls team walked into the gym at Ridgefield High School, the players knew they were the underdogs in the Fairfield County Basketball League championship game. But a determined Wilton team rallied from a four-point halftime deficit to beat Milford, 39-32, and win the FCBL title.
Aly Rappaport (11 points) scored on a layup within the first 10 seconds to give Wilton the first lead of the game. Despite strong defensive efforts from Shalya Kapoor (three points), Georgia Russnok (three points), Avery Schestag (two points), and Erin Getty, Milford controlled much of the opening half and went into the break with a four-point lead.
Wilton was explosive in the second half, playing at a brisk tempo with many fastbreaks by Sawyer Pendergast (14 points) and quickly taking the lead. Caroline Luce, Russnok, and Kapoor were strong on the defensive boards, denying Milford many second chances. Along with Pendergast and Rappaport, guards Mary Kate Doyle (four points) and Marin Burke (two points) surprised Milford with strategic pressing and controlled the floor by moving the ball well. With less than a minute left, Pendergast hit one-of-two free throws, giving Wilton a three-possession lead and sealing the win.
Boys 7th Grade
After ending the regular season with a 13-7 record, Wilton swept three playoff games to win the FCBL B Division title.
Wilton's run began with a 33-30 quarterfinal win over a Monroe team that had beaten Wilton, 48-38, during the season. In the semifinals against Milford, Wilton opened a 15-0 lead en route to a 59-42 triumph. Wilton followed that victory with a 40-30 win over Greenwich Select in the championship game Sunday afternoon in Fairfield.
Throughout the playoffs, Wyatt Jones and Levi Kaplan led the Wilton offense with adept ball handling and passing. Max Jarvie and Kyle Roesser dominated with offensive and defensive rebounds and controlled the paint. Todd Woodring and Henry Roy stymied defenses with their jump shots, while Will Fischer and Jack Minnich shut down opponents' passing options and Peter Reyes and Luke DiRocco played tough, physical defense.
Boys 5th Grade
Wilton fought hard in a 25-24 loss to Westport in the FCBL championship game in Danbury. Josie Silva, Rory Kepner, and Coco Layne all played strong defense for Wilton, making steals and grabbing rebounds. Carolina Bonita also had a solid performance, contributing three rebounds and creating four jump balls. Maia Andelkovic initiated a second-half comeback by adding a point from the foul line. Ella Loughran and Liliana Finn each scored two points, and Liliana Finn had three rebounds, two steals, and two assists. Rose Bilella contributed three points and hustled to create four jump balls; Arwen Garcia had six points (including a 3-pointer); and Ellie Smith scored 10 points and added six steals, three rebounds, two assists, and two blocked shots.
Girls 7th Grade
After beating Milford, 34-28, in the semifinals, Wilton lost to New Fairfield, 36-28, in the FCBL A Division championship game.
Wilton got off to a strong start, leading 20-17 at the half and 24-23 after three quarters. Trailing by one point with four minutes to play, Wilton did not score again, and New Fairfield made its free throws following Wilton’s intentional fouls. Ashleigh Masterson powered the offense and defense, scoring 10 points, securing 18 rebounds, and making seven steals. Rounding out the Wilton scoring were Ella Mulfinger (eight points),Molly Hancock (six points), Maddie Phelan (two points), and Riley Fitzgerald (two points).
In the semifinals, Wilton trailed at halftime but made a strong third-quarter run to enter the final period ahead by 5 points. Wilton’s offense was searching for players to step up because leading scorer Anisa Burrows was out for the tournament with an injury. Masterson gave the offense a needed boost with 16 points, four assists and 16 rebounds. Also providing a spark were Maddie Dineen (six points), Hancock (four points), Fitzgerald (a big 3-pointer late in the game), Cali Hage (three points, six rebounds), and Lauren Moe (two points, two assists, six rebounds). Wilton’s full-court, man-to-man defense, ignited by Emma Kelly (steal, two rebounds), played a big part in the victory, limiting Milford to nine second-half points.
Notes: On Saturday, two Wilton players competed in the FCBL skills competition. Phelan finished second in speed dribbling and Hancock was second in 3-point shooting.