Boys basketball: Wilton rains 3-pointers on Woodstock in state playoff win

The rain outside the gym may have stopped, but inside Zeoli Fieldhouse, the Wilton High boys basketball team made it rain 3-pointers as it sank 18 of them in a 73-35 rout of the 27th-seeded Woodstock Academy Centaurs, in the opening round of the Class L state playoffs Tuesday night.

Seven different players drained a 3-pointer for the sixth-seeded Warriors, with Nick Kronenberg leading the way with five, Sean Breslin with four and Scott Cunningham with three.

“I don’t know if the 18 3-pointers is a school record, but I know that’s the most since I’ve been the head coach,” said Wilton head coach Joel Geriak.

The Warriors capped off their win in the fourth quarter by scoring all of their 15 points on 3-pointers, with the last coming from Jackson Cote, who banked his in off the glass.

Wilton (18-6) will now face 11th-seeded Newington in the second round on Thursday in Wilton at 7.

Tuesday’s game was close early, with Woodstock holding an 8-6 lead midway through the first quarter. Their lead was short-lived and would be their last lead when Kyle Maatallah hit a 3-pointer. Wilton closed out the first period with a 9-0 run to lead 15-8 after one.

The Centaurs hung tough early in the second quarter and got within two at 18-16. But it started raining those 3-pointers again as the Warriors drain three consecutive treys en route to a 14-0 run to finish the first half up 32-16.

Woodstock committed 12 turnovers in the first half to one for Wilton, which helped fuel the home team’s runs. Wilton did a good job in pressing the ball, forcing Woodstock into turnovers. Wilton had seven 3-pointers in the first half.

“We saw that they came out in a zone and they were giving us the open looks at threes so we took them,” said Breslin. “They had the inside pretty well guarded, so we didn’t force the ball down low. We made the extra pass around the outside to find the open man and we had confidence in making them.”

Breslin opened the third quarter with his third 3-pointer and the rout was on. The Warriors would connect for five more 3-pointers in the period, as they outscored Woodstock 23-11 in the third quarter for a 55-27 lead going into the final quarter.

Geriak cleared his bench in the fourth quarter, with his team hitting five more 3-pointers for all their points in the period and again outscoring the Centaurs 15-8 for the 73-35 final.

The Warriors were coming off their loss in the FCIAC championship game last Thursday, and Geriak needed his team to refocus themselves and get back to work.

“In Sunday’s practice the team was still in a little fog, but I told them to put last week’s game behind them and get ready for the next run or their season would be over,” he said. “They got things going on Monday. I wasn’t able to scout Woodstock so we prepared for them by practicing all different defenses, not knowing what look they were going to give us.”

The Warriors will be without the services of senior co-captains Jack Williams and Jack Wood the rest of the way, as both are sidelined with injuries.

“Those are two key players for us and we’re going for other players to step up and the team is going to have to trust each other and play our game,” added Geriak.

Nick Kronenberg led the Warriors with 15 points, followed by Matt Kronenberg with 13 points, Breslin with 12 points, Drew Connolly and Cunningham with nine points each, and Maatallah with eight points.

Jared Bouten led Woodstock with 13 points and Chase Anderson added 11 points.

After the game Breslin also had time to reflect on what playing for Geriak has meant to him.

“There is no one else I would rather play for then Joel (Geriak). He always has our back, gives us the tools and the game plan to beat our opponent. He works hard at preparing us for battle and we don’t want to let him down. He treats us like we are his kids. We treat each other with mutual respect. He has made us all better ball players and better as a person off the court.”