The Staples Wreckers came into Wilton and took a page from the Warriors’ playbook by draining nine three-pointers en route to a closely contested 55-50 victory in an FCIAC boys basketball game Monday night at the Zeoli Fieldhouse.
It was the first conference win for Staples (4-4 overall; 1-3 FCIAC) and the first conference loss for Wilton (5-2; 2-1).
“They clearly outplayed us in many of the facets of the game; they out-hustled us to 50/50 balls, out-rebounded us, and frustrated us on offense, as we could never get anything going,” Wilton head coach Joel Geriak said.“They’re a well-coached team and their team obviously wanted the win more than our team,” Geriak added. “We are still learning as a team and I feel we haven’t hit our peak yet, but we’ll see if the team learned their lesson from this game the next time we hit the floor.”
Wilton entered the final quarter clinging to a 31-29 lead. With 3:53 left to play the Warriors were up 42-40 after a steal and a basket by Ryan Schriber. But Staples knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to erase its deficit and go ahead 46-42.
Wilton kept the score close, as the game turned into a free-throw contest over the final three minutes. Staples scored its final nine points of the game from the foul line (hitting nine-of-10 foul shots), while the Warriors went six-of-eight down the stretch.
For the first three quarters, the teams traded baskets, with neither sustaining a good run.
Wilton was ahead 11-8 after the first quarter and got baskets by Schriber and Ryan Biberon to open the second period and take its biggest lead of the night at 15-8. The Warriors again led by seven points, 18-11, with just over four minutes to play in the period, but Staples closed the quarter on a 12-4 run to take its first lead at 23-22 going into the break.
Both offenses stalled in the third quarter, with Wilton outscoring the Wreckers, 9-6, to go in front 31-29.
“We obviously took them too lightly, and as a team we didn’t play the way we are capable of, including myself,” Wilton senior co-captain Nick Kronenberg said.
“We came out flat and at times looked like a deer in headlights,” Geriak said. “We were slow in our rotation, which gave them open looks on outside shots. Then we saw that they came to play and we were a little star struck and starting forcing up shots and pressing too hard.”
Kronenberg paced the Warriors with 15 points, followed by Schriber with 11 points.
Staples’ Dylan Ward led scorers with 16 points.