Boys hoop preview: Wilton has skill, size, depth

Andrew Smith (file photo) scored 18 points in Wilton's season-ending loss to New Britain on Monday night in the Division I state tournament.

Andrew Smith (file photo) scored 18 points in Wilton’s season-ending loss to New Britain on Monday night in the Division I state tournament.

Gretchen McMahon / For Hearst Connecticut Media

Two years removed from making the FCIAC finals (for the first time) and one year after reaching the state quarterfinals, the Wilton boys basketball team put together another impressive season last winter.

The Warriors went 18-6, advancing to the conference semifinals before losing by one point to New Britain in the Division II state quarterfinals.

Even though several key players (leading scorer Nick Kronenberg, Zayvion Eusebe, Ryan Biberon, Ryan Schriber) have graduated, Wilton expects to scale lofty heights again in 2019-20.

“We want to build on last year’s success,” head coach Joel Geriak said. “I think we can be better. We’re in a pretty good spot with the players we have.”

Wilton’s returnees include four senior captains: 6-foot-2 shooting guard Andrew Smith, 5-10 point guard Tucker Walden, 6-4 power forward Kyle Hyzy, and 6-6 center John Walsh.

“It’s a very good core,” Geriak said. “Those four guys are great leaders.”

Smith should be among the FCIAC’s best all-purpose guards this season. He averaged 10.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.2 steals per game last year and made 48 three-pointers.

Hyzy contributed 8.0 points and 6.7 rebounds, and Walden added five points, four rebounds and nearly three assists per game.

Three juniors — 6-foot-8 center Matt Murphy, 6-1 guard/forward Josh White, and 6-2 forward Jimmy McKiernan — could also crack the starting lineup, depending on the opponent.

“We have good flexibility,” Geriak said. “We can mix and match based on who we are playing.”

Wilton’s roster includes six more juniors — 6-foot-3 forward John McMahon, 5-10 guards Owen Lillis, 5-11 guard Trevor Martines, 6-5 forward/center Mike Coffey, 5-10 guard Ben Wiener, and 5-8 guard Mack Kepner — and 6-1 sophomore forward Parker Woodring.

“Our depth is good,” Geriak said. “We have some height and some guards. The main thing for us will be developing team chemistry.”

Notes: The Warriors open the season next Friday (Dec. 27) against Dover (Ohio) in the KSA Holiday Tournament in Orlando, Fla. Wilton will play two more games in the tournament before heading home and hosting St. Joseph on Jan. 3.

Wilton competed in the KSA event last year, winning two of three games and finishing second in its division.

Due to its recent run of success, Wilton has been moved into the ultra-competitive Division 1 field for this season’s state tournament.