Boys basketball: Perfect no more — Trinity hands Wilton first loss
Going into Friday night’s game against the Trinity Catholic Crusaders, Wilton boys basketball head coach Joel Geriak knew the opponent was the most talented team in the conference.
But Geriak, who extensively scouts his team’s foe, felt that, if his team executed the game plan he put forth, it should have prevailed.
The Crusaders’ talent was on display and the Warriors failed to implement the coach’s plan and Trinity came away with a 69-55 win over the Warriors at the Zeoli Fieldhouse.
The loss was the first of the season for Wilton, whose record stands at 10-1 overall, 7-1 in the conference. The win puts Trinity’s record at 8-3 overall, 6-3 in the conference.
“As a coach you want to win every game, let’s be honest, but I didn’t think we would go undefeated on the season,” said Geriak. “They (Trinity) are a very athletic team and played more physical than us. We put a different starting lineup on the floor due to injuries and we came out flat. We didn’t get out and run on them and play uptempo, which was the game plan. We did a good job boxing out on the defensive end of the floor, but we needed to push their big men further back away from the basket.”
He continued, “We got a great game out of Robbie Hermann, who was undersized compared to their front line, but he gave a great effort. The positive take-away from the game is if we executed the game plan by pushing the ball up the court, the outcome of the game would have been different.”
Trinity pushed out to an early 9-0 lead before a putback basket by Kyle Shifrin gave Wilton its first points two minutes and 40 seconds into the contest. A slam dunk by Dutreil Contavio ended the first quarter with the Crusaders holding a 14-7 lead.
Wilton committed five turnovers in the first period to go along with a poor shooting performance from both in the paint and from three-point land. The Warriors were without Jack Williams, who was injured in the win over Darien Tuesday night and will be sidelined a few weeks.
Matt Kronenberg, who also suffered an injury Tuesday night, was held out of the starting lineup, but did enter the game midway through the first period.
The Warriors shooting stayed ice cold in the second quarter, but Trinity wasn’t knocking down shots either. Scott Cunningham jump-started the Wilton offense with a 3-pointer with 3:13 left in the second period. Wilton got back in the game and took its first lead of the night with 55 second remaining in the period after three consecutive Crusader turnovers. Drew Connolly stole the ball and hit for two; Cunningham drove the lane and threw in an off-balance shot; and a Joe Pozzi 3-pointer put the home team ahead 21-20. Contavio hit a bucket to end the first half with Trinity up 22-21.
The scoring pace picked up in the third quarter, with the Warriors’ Sean Breslin and the Crusaders’ Dimitry Moise having a huge period. Breslin drained three 3-pointers for Wilton, which twice gave Wilton the lead and once tied the score. Moise had 12 of his team’s 18 points in the quarter. His last bucket gave Trinity a 40-38 lead going into the final eight minutes of play.
Breslin’s fourth 3-pointer of the game tied the score at 47-47 with 5:09 left to play. But the Crusaders would close out the game outscoring the Warriors 22-8 over the final five minutes of play for the 69-55 win. Contavio capped off the visitors’ scoring with another dunk. Contavio was also credited with several blocks and caused the Warriors to change their shots in the paint.
Cameron Blake, who finished with a game-high 20 points, nailed three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter for Trinity to lead the team to victory. Moise finished with 19 points for Trinity.
“Give them credit. They played better than us tonight. They’re very athletic, communicated well with each other and beat us,” said Matt Kronenberg. “We wanted to run on them and try to get them in foul trouble. We were a step slow tonight and their bigs didn’t allow us to get to the rim. With our best player out, Jack Williams, we need to step up as a team. We need to get out to a better start, not play hero ball and point fingers.”
Breslin led Wilton with 12 points. Matt Kronenberg and Connolly finished with 10 each, and Cunningham added seven points.
Trinity went to the foul line 25 times, converting 18, while Wilton was 11 for 18 from the free-throw line.