Wilton High boys basketball coach Joel Geriak isn’t afraid to loosen his tie, roll up his sleeves, and get to work. Neither are his Warriors, who jumped out to a big lead over Trumbull and then closed out the FCIAC showdown with a 69-60 victory on Friday night.
“We saw this team coming in as the best in the league,” Geriak said of the Eagles. “They are a team that runs well. We had to slow down their tempo and our transition game was great.”
Wilton moved into second place in the overall conference standings. The Warriors (10-2 FCIAC, 13-3 overall) are a half-game behind Danbury (11-2). Trumbull is also 10-2 in the conference and 13-3 overall.
Tucker Walden buried a pair of 3-pointers and Andrew Smith and Zayvion Eusebe each added one, but it was Ryan Biberon’s eight points inside the paint that sparked Wilton to a 24-15 lead after one quarter.
Trumbull’s Timmond Williams (35 points) led a couple of mini-runs in the first half, but each time the Eagles narrowed the gap, Wilton responded.
“For them to score 69 points, with a high scorer at 11, that is impressive,” Trumbull coach Buddy Bray said. “They played their system and hit the open shot. Each time we’d get close, they would make a three.”
Smith knocked two more treys, and Ryan Schriber made one from beyond the arc, as the Warriors went into halftime ahead 41-26. Nick Kronenberg had six of his 11 points in the period for the visitors.
Wilton’s drive-and-dish offense was at its best.
“Our goal is to share the ball,” Warrior co-captain Reilly Bingaman said. “We look to control tempo and find the open man.”
Trumbull rallied in the third quarter, getting six points in transition on baskets from Mileeq Green, Quentar Taylor, and Williams.
Williams’ put-back bucket — after Wilton went dry on seven possessions (0-for-5 from the floor; two turnovers) — cut Wilton’s lead to 44-37 with 4:34 left in the period, prompting Geriak to call a timeout.
“We knew we were catching Trumbull short-handed with Chris Brown [injured against Fairfield Warde game] out,” Geriak said. “We had to get back control of tempo and run our offense.”
Kyle Hyzy drew an extra defender to him on a dribble drive coming out of the break and found Walden open in the short corner for a three-pointer.
Williams answered in kind for Trumbull; Green dished the ball to Evan Gutowski for a foul-line jumper; and Williams dazzled the crowd with an up-and-under finish of a baseline drive.
It was now a one-possession game with two minutes left in the third quarter, and when Jack Therriault followed a basket by Taylor with a put-back off a rebound, Trumbull was ahead 48-47.
Eusebe then scored off a spin move in the lane to give Wilton a 49-48 advantage going into the final quarter.
Williams’ three-point play tied the game at 53-53 with 5:03 left in the game, but Hyzy’s kick-out pass to Schriber led to a 3-pointer and started Wilton’s 16-7 run that closed the game.
“They are a good team and had a nice run at us,” Bingaman said about the Eagles. “To get a nine-point win after being tied with five minutes left is a heckuva win for us.”
WILTON 69, TRUMBULL 60
Tucker Walden 3 0-0 9; Nick Kronenberg 4 2-2 11; Ryan Schriber 3 0-2 8; Andrew Smith 3 0-0 9; Reilly Bingaman 1 0-0 2; Kyle Hyzy 4 0-0 9; Zayvion Eusebe 4 2-2 11; Ryan Biberon 5 0-0 10. Totals: 27 4-6 69
Mileeq Green 3 0-0 6; Isaiah Johnson 1 0-0 2; Jack Therriault 1 0-0 2; Timmond Williams 12 7-8 35; Evan Gutowski 5 0-0 10; Quentar Taylor 2 1-2 5. Totals: 24 8-10 60
3-Pointers: Wilton: Walden 3, Smith 3, Schriber 2, Kronenberg 1, Hyzy 1, Eusebe 1; Trumbull: Williams 4.