WILTON, Conn. The Wilton High girls basketball team was trailing New Canaan by nine points with less than five minutes to play Friday, and its top scorer to that point, Maddy Fulton, had just fouled out. Head coach Jaclyn Woitkowski admitted that past Wilton squads might not have been able to climb out of that kind of hole.
But this season looks like it is going to be very different the Warriors went on a 21-7 run after Fulton fouled out. Casey Pearsall exploded for 15 points in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead free throws with 36 seconds left, lifting Wilton to a thrilling 57-52 victory.
This is a sign to everyone in this field house how much the Wilton girls have improved, Woitkowski said. It was pure wanting to win. Weve never really had the want in us before. Maddy fouled out, but didnt put her head in her hands. She kept cheering and the team got fired up by that.
Wiltons defense came up huge in the fourth quarter, using a full-court press to hold the Rams to just two field goals.
New Canaan got the ball into the hands of its best shooter, Sarah Mannelly, for its final possession. But the speedy guards potential go-ahead layup rolled off the rim into the waiting hands of who else Pearsall.
I dont think Wilton has been thought of as a basketball town. Our program has come so far and were showing were here to play, Pearsall said. Everybody came to play. Im just so excited.
For the second straight game Wilton showed that its depth off the bench is going to be a major strength. Freshmen Erin Cunningham finished with 10 points off the bench, Haley English drained a crucial bucket to cut New Canaans lead to three and Erica Meyer came up with some big rebounds filling in for Fulton.
Fulton finished with 10 points in her abbreviated evening. Kelly Brosko added seven.
Wilton (2-0) will try to continue its hot start on the road against Fairfield Ludlowe Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
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