Wilton High School Girls Varsity Basketball will celebrate senior night when they take on Brien McMahon, this Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 6:40 p.m. just prior to tip-off at the WHS Zeoli Field house. This year the team has two members of the Class of 2017, Meaghan Downey and Erica Smith–but they both contribute heart and leadership beyond their place as the only seniors on the team. In fact, they embody the team’s motto, “Be the Difference.”

Number 3, Erica Smith, plays center. Even though it’s her first year on the team after transferring from New Canaan, she has fit in perfectly with the squad. She’s also a member of the National Honor Society, is on the cross country and track teams, and plays for the varsity lacrosse team. She has been involved in various clubs and volunteer activities for the past three-and-a-half years, and has been especially active in her church (St. Aloysius) where she is a Parish Council Member and a teen leader working with the Bishop.

“It has been such a privilege being a senior for the group of girls this season,” Smith says. “I can think of no other group of people that I would rather spend every day with out on the court. Although I am not a crucial game changer, I tried to ‘Be the Difference’ in the way I led the team, by example and influence, whether it be by sprinting through every drill in practice, communicating on defense, or being positive no matter what the score or situation. I wanted to make a positive impression on the team this past year. I also wanted to leave the program being not only a better basketball player, but a better teammate and person. Every player and coach this year helped me to achieve this goal by constantly pushing me and believing that I had the potential to be great. I look forward to watching them in the years to come. Wilton girls basketball has an extremely bright future!”

Number 4, Meaghan Downey, is a guard. She has been with the WHS Basketball program all of her four years and is a co-captain this year. She’s been setting the bar high since freshman year, when she was named the MVP (2013-14) and then again as a sophomore junior varsity player (2014-15). Downey also captains the varsity cross country and track & field teams, and is vice president of both the Key Club Society and the National Honor Society. In her volunteer time, she’s taken her basketball skills to the Wilton Family Y, where she served as a Basketball Outreach Program volunteer, teaching children with special needs how to play basketball, stay active, healthy and learn good sportsmanship in a positive environment.

“Being a member of the Wilton Girls Basketball Team has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my high school experience. This team taught me how to be a good leader, not only as a player, but as a captain. As part of this team, I have been able to establish some great friendships and learn what it means to put your team before yourself. I was given the opportunity to play every game surrounded by some of the most talented and hard-working basketball players around. Winning and even losing together, we have built character and established long lasting bonds,” Downey says.

Coach Rob Coloney has great things to say about both his players. About Smith, he lauded her ability to join the team as a senior and play such a pivotal role.

“It has been an absolute honor having Erica Smith join our team, after one year off from the sport of basketball, post-transfer from New Canaan. It is not easy to change environments and join new groups of student-athletes, especially when transferring in-conference; however, Erica has been nothing short of an exemplary teammate, and leader. Erica is extremely coachable, passionate and motivated; she is destined for an extremely bright future thanks to her tireless work ethic and innate desire to make all those with whom she surrounds herself better.”

Coloney says that Downey has left the girls basketball program a better one for her participation.

“If one was to define a ‘Wilton Warrior,’ Meaghan Downey would be the personification of the term. I have been blessed to have been able to spend the last four basketball seasons as Meg’s coach, and she has left her heart, soul, and personality in the history of this program. Her effort, attitude and desire to achieve more, and progress forward each day is nothing short of admirable. Those who know Meaghan know that she is one of the kindest, positive-thinking people in the entire town of Wilton. She is a fierce competitor, who spends as much time studying film and strategy, as she does working out and motivating those around her. Meaghan Downey will be sorely missed in Wilton Basketball, but I can safely say she left a tremendous mark on the program.”