Wilton improves FCIAC playoff hopes by beating Trumbull
A game between two teams looking to better their chances of qualifying for the conference playoffs went down to the final seconds Thursday night.
In the end it was Wilton coming came away with a 73-69 win in a contest that featured 54 fouls shots, several players fouling out, and one player ejected after receiving two consecutive technical fouls.
Most of the foul shots occurred in the second half, with Wilton going 15-for-21 from the line and the Eagles making 15-of-20 free throws.
The Warriors improved to 9-7 overall and 8-4 in the FCIAC, while Trumbull fell to 9-7 overall and 6-6 in the conference. With four regular-season games (three on the road) remaining, Wilton is tied with Staples for sixth place in the conference’s overall standings; the top-eight teams earn postseason berths.
On Thursday night, the Warriors opened the first quarter with a 6-0 run before Trumbull battled back and tied the score, at 16-16, by the end of the first quarter.
The game was knotted 23-23 midway through the second quarter when the Warriors kicked into gear and closed the period with a 16-7 run for a 37-31 halftime lead.
After Trumbull pulled within 41-38 in the third quarter, Wilton scored 10 straight points for the game’s biggest lead at 51-38. Kyle Hyzy hit four consecutive free throws for the Warriors following a pair of technical fouls on Trumbull’s Mileeq Green.
Green’s exit seemed to inspire his team, as the Eagles closed the period on a 10-0 run of their own, capped by Jake Gruttadauria draining a 3-pointer from half-court as time expired.
“It was a game of runs, with a lot of fouls and foul shots,” said Wilton’s Andrew Smith. “Tonight’s game was a big battle between two teams looking for a postseason spot. We like to run the floor, but the fouls slowed the pace of the game. The coach always has us shooting free throws in practice in case the game comes down to that.”
Down 51-48, Trumbull began the final quarter by going six-for-six from the foul line and opening a 54-51. Wilton’s Tucker Walden then hit a basket and was fouled, sinking the free throw to tie the score with just over six minutes left.
After Walden’s free throw, Wilton coach Joel Geriak called a timeout.
“I felt I needed to call a timeout to settle the team and let them take a deep breath,” said Geriak. “They had played hard all game, but I wanted them to calm down for the final push to come away with the win.”
The game was tied two more times, at 56-56 and 58-58. With 3:21 left, Wilton led 67-61 following a bucket by John McMahon and two free throws from Hyzy.
Trumbull got within 71-69 before the Warriors added the game’s final two points.
Hyzy finished with 25 points for Wilton, going 12-for-13 from the foul line. Smith added 16 points and Walden had 13 points.
Gruttadauria led Trumbull with 21 points and teammate Andrew Cutter added 15 points.