Boys basketball: Warriors rout Newtown to reach tourney finals

The Wilton High boys basketball team came away with a 62-40 win over Newtown in their annual Holiday Tournament on Wednesday night at the Zeoli Fieldhouse. It was also the team’s season home opener.

The Warriors (2-1) will play Kolbe Cathedral in the tournament championship game on Friday at 5 at home. Kolbe beat Staples in the opening game on Wednesday night.

The Warriors drained 11 3-pointers on the night to fuel the 22-point victory. Wilton had only nine two-point baskets.

Senior co-captain Kyle Maatallah got the game’s first basket, a 3-pointer on the wing on a kick-out pass from Antonio Brancato. Newtown tied the game at 3-3 but the Warriors finished out the first quarter with a 17-3 run to take command of the game, leading 20-6 after one. Sophomore Tucker Walden came off the bench and sparked the offense with seven points.

Wilton gave the visitors too many opportunities to score second-chance baskets, as the Warriors didn’t crash the defensive boards. But Newtown could convert on these chances as they missed several open looks at the basket.

The scoring pace of the game slowed in the second quarter, with Wilton outscoring Newtown 11-10. Wilton hit three more 3-pointers in the quarter, giving them six in the first half.

The Warriors led 31-16 at the half.

Wilton knocked down four more 3-pointers in the third quarter to grow their led to 49-25 by quarter’s end. Nick Kronenburg nailed three straight three-point attempts, with a two-point basket by Brancato sandwiched in between.

With the 24-point lead Wilton head coach Joel Geriak was able rest his starters and play whoever was suited up for the team.

“Our target for points every game is 70 points, but with the lead I had and the game in hand I wasn’t concerned about our score,” said Geriak. “When they came out in zone defense we got good, open three’s so we took them.”

The team played with confidence the entire game and when they put up the three’s they were confident that they were going in. The Warriors were 11 for 32 from downtown.

“I never get worried about them shooting three’s, as long as they’re open shots,” said Geriak. “It’s early in the season and we have a lot of things we need to get better at, but they’re playing well as a team and starting to trust each other on the court.”

Newtown outscored Wilton 15-13 in the fourth quarter for the 62-40 final.

Newcomer Brancato led the Warriors with 15 points, including going 6-for-6 from the free-throw line, followed by Kronenburg with 12 points, all from 3-pointers. Scott Cunningham and Walden added seven points each and Maatallah had six points.