The best part about the season opening win for Fairfield Warde coach Dave Danko was the fact everyone on the bench contributed. In a true team effort, 14 Mustangs got in the game -- a 66-32 toppling of vising Harding of Bridgeport on Wednesday night.
Sophomore Sarah Cotto led the way with 18 points, seniors Kaitlin McKenna and Michele Treglia both dropped in 10, senior Kenzie Burns had five, and Jacqui Lanese and Mary Kate McTague both added four. Charlotte Choinski and Gabby Howard both chipped in with two points. Cotto hit two of the team's four 3-pointers.
Danko noted that his bench players not only got varsity minutes but contributed with strong efforts. "They work hard in practice and we need them," he said.
Danko added that the Mustangs need all team members in practice and also that they stand to come up with big plays when called upon in games throughout the season.
"I think it was a good kickoff," McTague said.
"I think it really showed our team dynamic -- that we cheer for each other."
Some of the biggest cheers came late in the game -- with the outcome well in hand -- when senior reserve player Choinski scored a basket despite a foul, moments after having a shot rim out.
The opening game was a good test for the players to get familiar with each other, Treglia said.
"We really need to find ourselves and see how all of us move and work together," Treglia said.
So far, so good.
"We moved the ball around very well. We saw the court fully -- we didn't miss any opportunities," said Fountain, adding that the Mustangs still have some areas that need improvement. "One thing we have to work on is boxing out, but that will come."
It will have to come quickly. Warde's next game stands to be a tough contest when Ridgefield visits on Friday.
"We can't let teams get second and third shots," Danko said. "We've got to maintain the focus and toughness."
Andy Hutchison is a freelance reporter