WILTON The future is bright for the Wilton High girls basketball team in the short and long term. The Warriors will play in their first conference playoff game in nine years on Saturday and look to be contenders for years to come thanks to the emergence of four young players on the team.
Freshmen Erin Cunningham, Hayley English and Erica Meyer have made an impact for the Warriors from day one. Cori Cannavino was called up from junior varsity to help out. Head coach Jaclyn Woitkowski has had no problem substituting in the rookies late in games throughout the season.
If freshmen earn it they should get in. I dont believe freshmen shouldnt play varsity, Woitkowski said. There is the physical side of it where you want to keep them safe, but I think theyve been able to handle it. Theyve certainly come out with great poise.
The girls came up together through the Wilton youth basketball program and have relished every moment on the court for the varsity squad. Its nice being together. Weve been playing with each other a while so we just know where were going to be for passes and things like that, English said.
Cunningham agreed that it is rare for this many freshmen to play for a winning team.
Im so grateful to get in the game in the fourth quarter, she said. Its nerve-wracking, but all the girls are just so supportive.
Meyer, already the tallest player on the team, has provided some of the most valuable minutes, allowing leading scorer Maddy Fulton rest. The rarity of having two low-post players who can consistently pull down rebounds is not lost on Meyer. Even if its just a minute break, having someone extra to give Maddy or whoever that little break so they can get back in there and fight and win it means a lot to the team," she said.
Woitkowski praised Wilton's youth teams for building the foundation that will sustain the varsity squad for years to come.
Before, we kind of really didnt teach them until high school and unfortunately thats too late if you want the program to be good," she said. "Coaches have been reaching out to us to show them where the girls are going to go and parents have been really supportive of the program too.
Wilton hosts Norwalk in the conference quarterfinals on Saturday at noon.
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