Wilton boys hoop team downs Warde

When the Wilton High boys basketball team began the season with three straight losses, it appeared the Warriors might be in for another bumpy season.

Not so fast. With five wins in its last six games, Wilton has climbed above .500 and is the surprise team in the FCIAC.

The latest conquest came Tuesday night, as the Warriors picked up their first road victory of the season by beating Fairfield Warde, 59-42, in Fairfield.

Wilton (5-4) got out to a quick 22-5 first-quarter lead and stayed in front the rest of the way. Warde cut into the Wilton lead in the second quarter, but the Warriors still had a 27-19 advantage at the break.

The visitors then outscored the Mustangs, 20-11, in the fourth quarter to pull away for the win.

The stat sheet was full of Wilton players who contributed to the victory. Max Maudsley and Olandi LeGrand led the way for the Warriors with 14 points each, followed by Weston Wilbur with 10 points and Matt Shifrin with nine points. LeGrand pulled down 12 rebounds and Wilbur had eight. Maudsley had a good all-around game with eight assists and six boards to go with his 14 points.

Max Garrett led the Mustangs with 15 points.

Last Thursday night’s home contest with Greenwich reinforced a hoop maxim: The game of basketball is about runs; the ones you make and one ones your opponent makes, and which team responds best to those runs.

Greenwich made three baskets on its first three trips down the floor while the Warriors missed on their first three shots, giving the Cardinals an early 7-0 lead. But this year’s Wilton team doesn’t fold its tent so easily. The Warriors recovered quickly and took a 9-8 lead with 5:25 left to play in the opening quarter.

Wilton then dominated play the rest of the way en route to a 74-50 victory.

Despite the slow start, Wilton regrouped and had a 24-14 lead at the end of one quarter. Wilbur had the hot hand in the period, picking up 12 of his game-high 22 points.

The Warriors stayed hot in the second quarter, maintaining their double-digit lead and opening a 43-26 advantage at the break.

Greenwich couldn’t get any closer than 21 points in the second half, as the home cruised to the 24-point win.

Going into the game, Wilton head coach Joel Geriak was worried about Greenwich, which had played other conference teams tough and was getting back some injured players.

“I wasn’t expecting us to win as big as we did, but we played outstanding as a team,” said Geriak. “This team doesn’t have a dominant player and they don’t care who scores; they play as a team and for each other. These kids have been playing together since sixth grade, so they have great chemistry.

“We’re a tough team to defend. We may have five scorers on the floor at any time and if they take one of them away we go to someone else. The team is playing with a lot of confidence and knows not to look past any opponent or their record; we take it one game at time.

In addition to Wilbur’s 22 points, Eric Houska poured in 16 points for Wilton, followed by Maudsley with 11 points and Shifrin with nine points, all on three-pointers. The Warriors drained 11 shots from three-point land.

LeGrand led the team with 10 rebounds. He also had four steals and four blocked shots.

“We didn’t get off to a good start. We looked at each other and said ‘let’s get it going’ and we did,” said Wilbur. “Any of us can score 20 points a night and we have more than one ball handler to bring the ball up the court or break the press. It’s whoever is playing well that night … we’ll rely on them. We’re an unselfish team and we play as a unit.”

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