WILTON, Conn. The Wilton High School girls basketball team that took the floor Wednesday on opening night was vastly different from the one on opening day last year: This team expects to win. Last year was expected to be a rebuilding season with only one senior on the roster. Instead, Wilton ended the year on an improbable 8-2 run and qualified for its first state tournament since 2005.
From the opening tip-off of Wednesdays game against Westhill, the Warriors looked like they were trying to prove that run was not a fluke. They played sound, fundamental basketball, with excellent rebounding and an effective three-point attack en route to a 59-49 victory.
I cant tell you how much work the entire program has put in since last year. Its all coming together and Im really looking forward to this season, Wilton senior Kelly Brosko said. Were just trying to continue our run from last year. Were feeling it. Were ready to go.
After the two teams felt each other out in the first quarter, Wilton three-sport star Casey Pearsall took off and put the Warriors in the drivers seat. Pearsall netted nine of her 11 points in the second period to give Wilton a 25-17 halftime lead.
Seniors Brosko and Maddy Fulton followed Pearsalls lead in the second half, combining for 17 points in the final 16 minutes. Brosko finished with a team-high 14 points, including four three-pointers.
Wilton had no answer for Westhills Meg DAllesandro, who posted a double-double, 32 points and 10 rebounds. Wilton was able to contain the rest of the Westhill squad, whose next-highest scorer had just six points.
Wilton fans got a glimpse of the depth of the Warriors bench, as Haley English, Erin Cunningham and Erica Meyer all freshmen saw significant playing time. The young trio combined for 15 points.
We felt that this game would dictate our entire season. We want a successful one, and our goal is two more wins than last year, Wilton head coach Jaclyn Woitkowski said. The focus and the girls self-esteem is night and day from last year. To coach a team of girls that like each other and get along is a gift.
The reinvigorated Wilton girls will be tested Friday in their second game, when they take on defending conference runner-up New Canaan. That game is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Wilton Field House.
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