Warrior Words: A team ready to make some noise

With winter weather in full swing now, so too are winter sports at the high school. Many fall and spring athletes are training and making the transition to indoor track, wrestling practices have begun, and the sport that arguably gets the most attention along with hockey, Wilton basketball, is finally here. There already are numerous pre-season reports and projections from local writers and bloggers, but let me give you my perspective, coming from a Wilton High School student, and a friend of many of the players.

This year’s roster is full of seniors, all of whom have worked exceptionally hard to get to where they are. I expect big things from them, as the basketball program over the past few years has only been trending up. The players have great chemistry, most of whom have played together since a very young age, and there is a level of accountability and camaraderie on this Warrior team that other FCIAC rosters do not possess.

In observing practices and talking with the guys, something that seems to bolster Wilton basketball is their trust in their relatively new coach, Joel Geriak. All of the players seem to have a great relationship with him, and with all of the transfers and shake-ups in the league prior to this season, most of Wilton’s team remains intact, aside from the loss of a few talented seniors last year.

Wilton scrimmaged Weston on Dec. 6, and senior captains Scott Shouvlin, Michael Bingaman, Richie Williams, and Matt Shifrin seemed relatively pleased with their performance, but knew they had plenty to work on in the weeks leading up to the highly anticipated season opener against Ridgefield, in enemy territory. Brandon Tegano, assistant coach, said, “We played very well. We played together which is most important, and we really showed signs of greatness which we could have this year.”

When I asked about the team’s goals this season, he promptly responded, “We want to play 28 games. If we play 28 we’ll be playing in the state playoffs; we want to win our division again similar to how we did last year, as well as make the FCIAC playoffs again.”

Tegano was not the only one with this goal, as Michael Bingaman, the lengthy forward who will be a huge factor to their success this season, said, “Twenty-eight games. We want to play 28 games, that would mean we win States.”  Tegano also said that the Warriors’ strengths are in their shooting and “we have a lot of shooters. We need to be a little more aggressive and get to the [free-throw] line because we have these great shooters.”

Wilton will be led inside by 6’4” senior Lucas Savoie and forceful senior T.J. Savvaides, and look for contributions on the boards by seniors Miles Elmasry, Bingaman and Williams, along with his sophomore phenom brother, Jack. The Warriors’ perimeter attack will be led by sharpshooter Scott Shouvlin, who hit the game-winning three-pointer against Greenwich last year, which turned into an Internet sensation, along with Matt Shifrin, the Warriors’ do-it-all guard who will be playing at Kenyon College in Ohio next year. Senior guard Ryan Curtis can also light it up from outside.       

The pieces are all here. The stage is set. Wilton basketball can make a serious run this year in the FCIAC and Class L if they can seize their opportunities on the perimeter, and use their chemistry to their advantage. I fully expect the Warrior Tribe to be cheering this team to victory, especially over our rival, Ridgefield, by the time of this article’s publication.

Alex Jacobson is a senior at Wilton High School. He shares this column with four classmates.