Big third quarter powers Wilton past Central

Coach Joel Geriak and the Wilton boys basketball team are now 7-7 this season following Thursday's home win over Central.

Coach Joel Geriak and the Wilton boys basketball team are now 7-7 this season following Thursday’s home win over Central.

Krista Benson / For Hearst Connecticut Media

After a slow start in Thursday night’s home game against Bridgeport Central, the Wilton boys basketball team outscored the Hilltoppers, 24-6, in the third quarter en route to a 71-48 win at the Zeoli Field House.

The victory was the third straight for the Warriors, who evened their record at 7-7. Wilton also improved to 6-4 in the FCIAC and is currently seventh in the conference’s overall standings with six games remaining — the top-eight teams qualify for the FCIAC playoffs.

Wilton overcame an early 4-0 deficit to go ahead 14-8. But Central went on a 10-3 run to end the first quarter with an 18-17 lead.

Andrew Smith’s basket to start the second quarter put the Warriors back in front and they never trailed again.

“We didn’t have a good pregame warm-up and it caused us to have a lack of focus to start the game,” senior co-captain Kyle Hyzy said. “The coaches clearly drove the point home about our lack of effort to start the game. If we want to make the postseason FCIAC tournament we have to play like a playoff team to get there.”

The Warriors led 28-24 at halftime and got scoring from seven players in their big third quarter, which ended with the hosts ahead, 52-30. Wilton’s lead grew to as many as 29 points in the final quarter before Central ended the game with a 14-8 run.

Wilton coach Joel Geriak said several of his team’s defensive sets frustrated the Hilltoppers and didn’t allow them to find a rhythm.

“We started the game with a different set-up on defense and had some success with it, but it wasn’t allowing us to run the floor,” Geriak said. “We changed it up in the second quarter and our offense got rolling.

“In the third quarter we forced them to turn the ball over; we got out on fast breaks,” Geriak added. “What also fueled the run was the players started trusting each other and shared the ball.”

Hyzy led Wilton’s balanced scoring with 12 points. Parker Woodring added 10 points, and Smith, John McMahon, and Josh White had eight points apiece. John Walsh and Tucker Walden each contributed seven points.

Notes: Some late trash talking and shoving resulted in a player from each team being ejected.