Boys basketball:Maatallah heats up as Wilton drops Rams
As cold as it was outside Zeoli Fieldhouse on Saturday night, inside the gym Kyle Maatallah was hot as could be for the Wilton High boys basketball team.
The senior co-captain came off the bench to pour in 16 consecutive points in the first half to power the Warriors to a 79-46 win over New Canaan.
Maatallah drained four 3-pointers and two baskets in his run to put the Warriors up 22-7 just a minute into the second quarter. He finished the night with a game-high 27 points.
Maatallah, who has struggled with his game lately, was not in the starting lineup.
“My game has been off and the coach told me I’d being coming in off the bench.” said Maatallah. “It felt good to have the scoring run I had. Coming off the bench, I felt more relaxed and comfortable. As a team we played a much better game than our last time out. We need to come out each game and get a run on our opponent to set the tone of the game. We also got a great defensive effort from Kyle Phillips, who took away one of their scoring threats.”
Wilton improved its record to 4-2, while New Canaan dropped to 2-4.
Both teams started off cold start with the score standing at 6-5 with 2:24 remaining in the opening quarter. That’s when Maatallah heated up, knocking down three 3-pointers to end the quarter with Wilton up 15-7.
Maatallah opened the second quarter with seven more points before Nick Kronenberg’s basket ended his run and gave the Warriors a 15-0 run. The Rams turned their focus on Maatallah, so the Warriors turned to Scott Cunningham, who hit two 3-pointers and netted 10 points in the quarter, staking the Warriors to a 44-17 halftime lead.
Wilton showed much more energy and focus than it did in its loss to Norwalk on Wednesday, and the Warriors dominated the boards at both ends of the floor.
Head coach Joel Geriak, who usually wears a white shirt and tie, sported a dark blue shirt in Saturday’s game.
“Hey, after the way we played last game I had to try something different,” said Geriak. “We stuck to our game plan, came out with more energy, crashed the boards, and got defensive efforts by Phillips and Ryan Schriber, containing their offense.”
Geriak and his coaching staff spend countless hours researching his opponents to prepare his team.
“We look at both their offense and defense, but we mostly focus on their defense to see how we are going to attack them. We look at films, attend games when we can, to come up with our game plan. But it still comes down to our players going out there and executing that plan.”
New Canaan outscored Wilton in the third quarter, 18-14, but the Warriors still maintained a 23-point lead at 58-35 after three quarters.
The Rams got as close as 19 points midway through the final quarter at 63-44, but the Warriors closed out the game with a 16-2 run.
In addition to Maatallah’s 27 points, Cunningham hit for 20 points, his third consecutive game with 20 or more points. Kronenberg had eight points.