Wolcott girls pull Class M first round upset

The No. 23 Wolcott girls basketball team found itself in a tight game at No. 10 Woodland on Tuesday evening in the first round of the Class M state tournament.

A Hawk 3-pointer had just cut the Eagle lead to three points, and there was still 5:43 to play. Wolcott needed to respond to Woodland’s push, and it did so convincingly. The Eagles outscored the Hawks by 13 points the rest of the way and snatched a 55-39 victory. Wolcott improved to 10-11 and will play at No. 7 Cromwell, a 46-36 win over No. 26 Lewis Mills, in the second round on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Amber Vincent, the lone senior on the Eagle roster, erupted for 22 points. Junior Amanda Sullivan tallied 15 points, including 10 from the foul line in the fourth quarter alone. Mayci Abou Arrage, another junior, contributed nine points.

Vincent scored the first seven points for Wolcott, then put up seven more points in the second quarter. The Eagles outscored the Hawks, 11-7, in the second quarter to lead, 24-21, at halftime. Wolcott scored the first seven points of the third quarter, including four from Abou Arrage, for a 31-21 lead. It took nearly seven minutes, but Woodland pulled to within three points, 38-35, on Gabby Mastropietro’s 3-pointer. Woodland coach Jenn Deeley, who led both Kennedy and Sacred Heart and is in her first season in Beacon Falls, called timeout with 5:43 to play in the fourth quarter.

Wolcott’s response to Woodland’s charge was a crushing 17-0 run. The Eagles tightened up their “amoeba” defense, or 1-1-3 zone, and they made their free throws, 12 of them, and all without a miss, to open up a 20-point lead with 1:25 to go. After Wolcott amassed that big lead, head coach Marty DiTuccio emptied his bench and the starters all received big hugs from their coaches. When the game ended, Vincent led the charge onto the court to celebrate with her teammates.

GALLERY: Here are my photos from Tuesday evening’s game.

Photo caption: Wolcott junior Amanda Sullivan (11) watches her foul shot go through the net during the fourth quarter of Tuesday evening’s Class M first round win at Woodland. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)