The first half of the season was rough for the Wilton boys basketball team, but the second half has seen coach Joel Geriak’s team find its form.
The Warriors, who must continue to string victories together to qualify for the FCIAC Tournament, extended its winning streak to four games Monday night against a Greenwich squad that played at its home gym for the first time in three weeks.
Seizing a 16-point first-quarter lead, Wilton cruised to a 66-46 win over Greenwich in an FCIAC game. With the triumph, Wilton improved its overall record to 8-7 and its FCIAC mark to 7-4. The Warriors are in the running for one of the final FCIAC Tournament berths.
“We were 4-7, so we made a couple of changes and the kids responded,” Geriak said. “Sharing the ball — that’s what we’re doing better now. The FCIAC is tough, you can’t lose many games in order to make the playoffs and right now, we’re playing much better than we were early in the year.”
Senior Andrew Smith scored 15 points, including three 3-pointers, while senior Kyle Hyzy totaled 13 points for Wilton. The Warriors held a 22-6 lead after the first quarter and 37-20 advantage at halftime.
John Walsh, a senior forward, added 12 points and senior Tucker Walden contributed 12 points in the winning effort. Junior forward Mason Muir scored 13 points for the Cardinals, whose best moments came during the third quarter.
“All the things Wilton was doing were things we expected,” GHS coach Chris Lovermi said of the Cardinals’ slow start to the game. “We knew they could hit the 3, we knew they play with a very high level of energy. We had a very good practice yesterday (Sunday), it just did not carry over to the court today.”
Wilton, which played an aggressive man-to-man defense and applied full-court pressure, took first half leads of 27-6 and 33-11 on a layup by junior guard Josh White and a 3-pointer from the right corner by sophomore guard Parker Woodring in the second quarter.
Trailing 35-13, the Cardinals went on a 7-0 run, behind a 3-pointer from guard AJ Barber and a putback by forward Chason Barber, making it 35-20. After AJ Barber’s layup off a steal brought Greenwich to within 47-33 to end the third quarter, Wilton went on a 10-0 run to open a commanding 57-33 advantage.
A 3-pointer from the top of the key by junior guard Jimmy McKiernan sealed the Warriors spurt.
“The game plan was to get them up-tempo and press them when we can,” Geriak said. “The main thing for us was playing good defense. We held them to six points in the first quarter, which set the tone. We didn’t play well in the second, or third quarter, but we bounced back in the fourth and finished the game.”
White added six points for Wilton, which hosts Trumbull on Thursday.
Senior forward Jayden Solomon scored eight of his 10 points in the first half for the Cards (3-12, 2-10 FCIAC).
“We haven’t been whole since Hamden,” (the season-opener) Lovermi said. “My hope is that come Thursday we can go up to Bridgeport Central and play with a high level of intensity.”
Greenwich returned home Monday, after playing in different locations the past several weeks, since their gym was unavailable due to damage that occurred parts of the floor due to a flood.”