Boys hoop: Wilton rolls to 51-39 victory over Ridgefield

The Wilton High boys basketball team had the support of a huge, raucous home crowd Tuesday night.

And the Warriors made sure those fans thoroughly enjoyed their experience.

Wilton got out to a big first-half lead and rode it to an impressive 51-39 victory over arch-rival Ridgefield at the Zeoli Field House.

Raining three-pointers, Wilton opened a 24-point lead, 42-18, at halftime. That cushion proved to be enough as the Warriors added only nine points in the second half, including one single point in the final quarter.

“I’m sure we’re going to talk about that we only scored one point in the fourth quarter in our post-game meeting,” said Wilton head coach Joel Geriak right after the victory. “It’s a good thing we had a big lead."

Geriak certainly had nothing to ponder at halftime, as his team gave a bravo performance at both ends of the court in the first two quarters. The Warriors (7-3) used strong defensive play and eight three-pointers to build their commanding lead at the break.

“They played intense on defense, forcing Ridgefield out of their offensive rhythm," said Geriak about his players. "We got in their passing lanes, and put a hand in their face to contest their shots. The kids made my job very easy tonight; we told them what they needed to do and they went out on the floor and executed it perfectly. On offense, we ran good sets looking for our best scoring opportunities and not just throwing it up from long range."

After Ridgefield (5-5) won the opening tip and Matthew Bartolucci hit a three-pointer, the Warriors proceeded to blow the Tigers off the court. Jack Williams and Matt Kronenberg put Wilton's offense into high gear by draining three-pointers on the Warriors' next two trips down the floor. Williams then added two more treys to give Wilton a 14-3 lead with 3:31 to play in the first period.

Williams closed the first quarter with a steal and and a layup off the glass, putting the hosts ahead, 18-9, through the first eight minutes. Williams supplied 11 of those points for Wilton.

The second quarter was no different, as the Warriors hit four more three-pointers and played stellar defense. Wilton outscored the Tigers, 24-9, in the period to take a 42-18 halftime lead.

Fittingly, the second-period highlight came from three-point land. Back-to-back treys by freshman Nick Kronenberg and his older brother, junior Matt Kronenberg, caused the crowd to erupt. A total of seven Wilton players contributed points in the second quarter.

Although the Warriors could manage only eight points in the third period, they prevented a comeback by holding Ridgefield to six points. Ahead 50-24 after three quarters, Wilton struggled in the final eight minutes but still won comfortably despite being outscored, 15-1, in the fourth period.

Williams finished with a game-high 19 points and Matt Kronenberg chipped in with 14 points for Wilton, with the latter knocking down four three-pointers.

“The crowd’s energy got us going and we didn’t want to disappoint them,” said Williams.“We shot well early in the game and we got in their heads with our defense and we held them in check. I can’t say enough about our head coach (Joel Geriak); I feel he’s one of the best coaches in the FCIAC. He does a great job in preparing us for each game and he knows how to get the best out of us."