Boys hoops: Wilton faces high-scoring Crosby tonight in quarterfinals
The Wilton High boys basketball team will attempt to advance to the state semifinals when it hosts Crosby from Waterbury in the Class L quarterfinals tonight at 7.
The sixth-seeded Warriors will have their hands full, however, in a Crosby team that is much-more daongerous than its 14th seed would suggest.
“We’re facing a very, very quick team. They like to play uptempo,” said Wilton head coach Joel Geriak. “We’re going to have to keep them off the offensive glass. They’re very good.”
Crosby enters the game at 16-8, after an 82-74 upset of second-seeded Bassick in the second round. The Warriors (19-6) beat Newington in the second round, 64-57.
Crosby is one of the state’s top scoring teams, averaging close to 80 points per game. The Bulldogs scored 125 points in a triple overtime victory over Waterbury Career Academy in January.
Wilton, while averaging 20 points less per game than Crosby, is comfortable playing an uptempo game. The Warriors are averaging 64 point per game, and have allowed opponents 53 points per game.
The Warriors are without two starters, and senior captains, in Jack Williams and Jack Wood, both out with season-ending injuries.
But the Warriors still have two outstanding guards in senior captains Matt Kronenberg and Drew Connolly, and a deep bench the includes an arsenal of 3-point shooters. Wilton has averaged 14 treys per game in its two tourney wins, and has seven players with 10 or more 3-pointers this season.
The Warriors will have to figure out a way to slow down Crosby’s 6’4” senior forward Jeremiah Kendall, who is averaging 28.9 points and 14 rebounds per game. He has scored 40 or more points in each of the team’s last three games.
While the Bulldogs have other weapons, Geriak said Wilton will need to be aware of where Kendall is at all times.
The Bulldogs’ second leading scorer is senior point guard Miguel Rivera, who averages 15 points per game and leads the team with 85 3-pointers.
Crosby has plenty of height along the frontline, with 6’3” junior Ivan Craig (6.6 ppg) and 6’3” sophomore Kerwin Prince (9.2 ppg). Wilton is not big along the frontline and rebounding will be a key — especially keeping Crosby from getting offensive rebounds.
The Bulldogs can also shoot from beyond the arc, with 205 treys this season, hitting 33% of their attempts. Craig is second on the team with 37 treys and Kendall has 34.
Crosby averages 78 points per game and has allowed opponents 68 points per game.
Both teams have played tough schedules in two of the toughest conferences in the state.
The Warriors were 11-5 in the FCIAC, falling to Ridgefield in triple overtime in the championship game, 68-64.
The Bulldogs were 13-5 in the Naugatuck Valley League, losing to Sacred Heart in the NVL semifinals, 86-77. Three of their eight losses this season have come against Sacred Heart (24-0), the state’s second-ranked team and the top seed in the Class L tournament.
The Bulldogs also lost twice to Holy Cross, which has made it to the Class M semifinals. Its other loss in the NVL was to Kennedy, which is in the Class LL semifinals after beating Danbury in the quarterfinals.
The other two regular-season losses were to Bassick and East Hartford, another Class LL semifinalist.