Smith heats up, leads Wilton past Danbury
The Wilton boys basketball team entered Thursday night’s home game on a four-game losing streak. The Warriors’ opponent, Danbury, had dropped seven straight.
Something had to give and someone had to win.
It was Wilton. With Andrew Smith scoring a game-high 25 points, the Warriors knocked off Danbury, 70-47, at the Zeoli Field House.
Smith was pivotal in the game’s key stretch. Down 13-8 at the end of the first quarter, Wilton got a basket from Kyle Hyzy to open the second period. Smith then caught fire and scored the Warriors’ next 15 points, putting the hosts ahead 25-17.
“Early in the game we weren’t executing the coach’s game [plan] and we got off to a slow start,” said Smith. “But in the second quarter we got it going and played old Wilton-style basketball: an extra pass, hard defense, and pushing the ball up the floor.”
Ahead 30-23 at halftime, Wilton went on an 11-2 run to start the third quarter, stretching its lead to 41-25. Danbury’s Jaden Cook (23 points) did what he could to keep his team in the game, scoring all of the Hatters’ 12 points in the period, but it was Josh White’s turn to get hot for Wilton and protect the lead. White knocked down two 3-pointers and added a two-point basket to help the Warriors take a 51-35 lead into the final quarter.
“We came out slow and lacked the energy needed to get the win. But we refocused quickly and got on track,” said Wilton coach Joel Geriak, whose team is 5-7 overall and 4-4 in the FCIAC. “They trusted each other tonight, made the extra pass looking for the open man, attacked the basket, and played fast.
“Our plan the rest of the season is to take it one game at a time and don’t scoreboard-watch,” Geriak added. “I feel if we can get a few wins under our belts the team’s confidence will grow and that should translate into better all-around basketball.”
Notes: Geriak and Smith both said that the energy in the Wilton gym and the fan support haven’t been as strong as in recent years, noting that the team feeds off the home-court advantage.
White finished the game with 16 points (four 3-pointers) and Hyzy added 13 points for Wilton.
Danbury dropped to 4-8 with its eighth straight loss.