WILTON -- Winning their first six games, including a victory over two-time defending league champion Danbury, was probably enough to label the Wilton Warriors as the team to beat in the 2013-14 FCIAC girls basketball race. Just in case anyone needed any more convincing the Warriors welcomed back junior center Erica Meyer Monday.
Meyer, who missed the first six games with a broken bone in her hand, scored 18 points and had eight rebounds in Wilton's resounding 71-42 victory over previously undefeated Westhill.
"Erica gives us a nice presence," Wilton coach Jackie Porco said. "It gives the rest of the girls a lot of confidence having her back."
Haley English was also terrific for Wilton with 19 points while Makenna Pearsall had 13 rebounds, nine points and eight assists and Erin Cunningham added 14 points, nine boards and six assists. But those numbers aren't anything new.
"The team did great without me," said Meyer, who injured her wrist in a preseason scrimmage. "I'm so happy to be back. I wanted to get back in so badly."
While Meyer's presence gave the Warriors a lift, it gave the Westhill girls something else altogether. Oh, like maybe a headache.
"It was Meyer's first game back, and was a battle between two (6-0) teams," Westhill coach Mike King said. "They lived up to their half of the bargain but we didn't live up to our half."
Westhill (6-1, 4-1 FCIAC) jumped to a 7-2 lead behind Steph Roones (15 points) and Tyler Evans (14 points). But the Warriors (7-0, 5-0) led 27-17 and were in the midst of a 37-12 run before Evans drained a 3 at the halftime buzzer. That left Wilton with a 39-22 lead.
It only got worse from there for the Vikings, who went without a field goal for 7:40 in the third quarter when they were outscored 18-3.
"Wilton shot the ball extremely well," King said. "I was very disappointed in our defensive focus. Offensively we had good looks but we couldn't score, and if we can't score we can't press (on defense)."
After taking the 27-17 lead in the second quarter, the Warriors went on a 12-2 run before Evans' last-second 3. Wilton then began the third quarter on an 18-1 spurt, meaning Westhill, a strong team with title aspirations of its own, was outscored 30-6.
All of which leaves two questions to ponder. The first: How bruised will the collective ego of the Vikings be after such a beating?
"We're a good team and this was one loss to another good team," King said. "It won't ruin our season but it's a wake-up call."
And the second question: After the day began with six FCIAC teams all 4-0, is it safe to call the Warriors, who knocked off two-time defending champion Danbury last month, the team to beat?
"I'd love to be the team to beat," Porco said. "But it's anybody's game."
Krystal Dixon had nine rebounds for Westhill.
WESTHILL (6-1, 4-1 FCIAC)
Edona Thaqi 0 0-0 0 Steph Roones 5 1-2 15 Tyler Evans 6 0-2 14 Liz Grosso 0 0-0 0 Krystal Dixon 4 0-0 8 Olivia Wise 2 1-2 5 Adriana Gambino 0 0-0 0 Gabby Laccona 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 2-6 42.
WILTON (7-0, 5-0 FCIAC)
Erin Cunningham 6 1-2 14 Makenna Pearsall 4 1-5 9 Karen Brosko 2 0-0 5 Haley English 6 5-5 19 Erica Meyer 7 4-4 18 Cori Cannavino 3 0-0 6 Christina Holmgren 0 0-0 0 Sara Dickinson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 28 11-16 71.
WESTHILL 9 13 3 17--42
WILTON 15 24 18 14--71
3-pointers: We--Roones 4, Evans 2; Wi--English 2, Cunningham, Brosko.
Highlights: We--Dixon had nine rebounds. Wi--Pearsall had 13 rebounds and 8 assists. Cunningham had nine rebounds and six assists. Meyer had eight rebounds.