Boys basketball: Wilton hopes to continue momentum, despite losses

Eight seniors are gone from a year ago, and while the Wilton High boys basketball team won’t exactly be starting from scratch, the team has some work to do.

The Warriors open the season on Monday at Pomperaug (7 p.m.).

Only one key contributor from last year is back, junior captain Jack Williams, and the roster has only two seniors, with the rest being five juniors, three sophomores and a freshman.

“We are very, very young,” said head coach Joel Geriak, whose team finished 16-8 last season, making it to the FCIAC semifinals and second round of the Class L state tournament.

Last year’s eight seniors — Matt Shifrin, Richie Williams, Scott Shouvlin, Mike Bingaman, Lucas Savoie, T.J. Savvaides, Miles Elmasry, and Ryan Curtis — combined for more than 60 points per game last season.

Shifrin, the all-time scoring leader for the WHS boys team, led the way with an average of 20.7 points per game, while Shouvlin hit for 10.5 points per game. The two sharpshooters combined for 109 of the team’s 175 three-pointers.

Richie Williams (9.1 ppg, 3.4 assists per game) and Bingaman (9.6 ppg, 6.3 rebounds per game) were also top scoring threats last year. Williams was third on the team with 21 treys and Bingaman had 19 treys.

Jack Williams, a 6’0” small forward, is coming off a season in which he averaged 4.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per game, with 19 three-pointers.

Junior Matt Kronenberg will take over at point guard. He saw action in 12 games last season, averaged nearly three points per game, and was 38% from beyond the arc.

At shooting guard, the Warriors will start Drew Connolly, who saw limited varsity action a year ago, while the front line will have two other newcomers in power forward Jack Wood, a 6’1” junior, and center James Maloney, a 6’4” senior.

Two sophomores expected to make an impact off the bench are 6’0” forward Kyle Shifrin and guard Kyle Maatallah. Senior Max Brown provides defense off the bench, and junior Sean Breslin provides depth at shooting guard.

Sophomore Robbie Hermann, a 6’3” forward/center, will bolster the frontline, while 6’9” sophomore Scott Volmer is another player to look for under the basket.

Rounding out the lineup are junior guard Joe Pozzi and freshman guard Chris Kronenberg.

Geriak said the younger players will have to learn the system, and lack of varsity experience will be an issue early in the season.

That said, he feels the Warriors have enough talent and depth for them to play 10 to 11 players per game. On defense, Wilton will 1-3-1 trap to bottle up opposing offenses. When players have the ball, they will run.

“We want to get out and push the ball as fast as we can,” he said.

According to Geriak, the FCIAC looks to be fairly even this year.

“The league is open. A lot of teams that made FCIACs lost a lot of people. It should be wide open.”

The Warriors’ goals are to keep their streak of FCIAC playoff appearances going, in addition to getting back into the state playoffs and winning their holiday tournament.

Geriak said the team, despite its inexperience, has the potential to continue the momentum that Wilton’s built the last several years.

“Once they get used to the speed of the game, and what other teams are trying to take away from, and what they’re trying to take away from other teams, I think they’ll be very good,” he said. “They want to build off what (last year’s seniors) did and build their own legacy.”