Eagles team up in showdown with Wilton High
The Trumbull High girls basketball team needed one more point on the scoreboard or five less seconds on the clock to secure a victory over unbeaten Wilton High on Jan. 17.
Wilton’s Erin Cunningham nailed a 3-pointer with five seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime and the visiting Warriors made 6-of-8 free throws in the extra session to escape with a 47-43 victory.
“This was an FCIAC battle and I thought the girls played together as one unit,” Trumbull coach Steve Tobitsch said.
“They (Wilton) have a big three in Haley English, Erica Meyer, who will be playing next year at Providence, and Cunningham, who made the shot. Our girls competed every possession and put themselves in position to win.”
Trumbull was led offensively by its tri-captains — Amanda Pfohl (11 points), Rachel Carron (seven points) and Joyce Woolen (six points) — and Claudia Tucci (five points).
Trumbull (7-4) scored on its first five possessions of the game, before Wilton (11-0) rallied back to take a 13-12 lead into the second quarter.
Taylor Brown, one of 11-of-13 players on the Trumbull roster to contribute, made a 3-pointer with 3:40 remaining in the first half, and the freshman’s long-range jumper off an assist from junior Katie O’Leary, tied the game for the first time at 19.
Wilton, with Meyer making two free throws (she was 6-for-7 from the stripe) took a 24-20 lead into the locker room.
The Warriors had a chance midway through the third quarter to extend its lead, but great defense by the Eagles, and Pfohl’s 3-pointer after a Tucci rebound, leveled the deficit at four heading into the final period.
Dani McGillicuddy and Pfohl made consecutive treys, Carron drove through traffic for a bucket, and Tucci buried a brace of free throws to give Trumbull a 39-38 lead with 3:46 left in the fourth.
After a pair of empty Wilton possessions, the Warriors sent Tucci to the line and the freshman made the second of two for a 40-38 edge with 42 seconds on the clock.
Pfohl got a defensive rebound, sophomore Kristina Vetter scored a key rebound off an Eagle missed free throw, and on the next opportunity, O’Leary made one of two to boost the lead to 31-38 with 16.7 left.
Out of a timeout, Cunningham came around a screen and made her trey to force the extra period.
Meyer made two freebie’s, Trumbull misfired on a trio of three-point shots, and Cunningham made two more from the line to make it a two-possession game with 13.7 remaining in overtime.
“We had good ball movement and were able to move people (around),” Tobitsch said.
“We have a lot of faith in each other and I trust the girls on our bench and depending on the matchup, all 13 are capable of helping us win.”
Trumbull defeated Brien McMahon, 55-12, in a game at Western Connecticut State University on Saturday.
The Eagles qualified for the state tournament with the win, and Brown scored 12 points to lead 10 players into the scorebook. Kalise Eldridge scored seven points, and Brown, Carron, Pfohl and Woolen hit treys..
The Eagles will host Harding of Bridgeport on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.