Danbury drubs Wilton in FCIAC boys hoop semis

Any doubt that top-seed Danbury was the favorite to win the FCIAC boys basketball championship melted away Tuesday night.

The Hatters scored the game's first 12 points and went on to rout fifth-seed Wilton, 77-41, in a conference semifinal at Fairfield Warde. Danbury, which improved to 20-2, will now play sixth-seed Westhill in the title game Thursday night (7 p.m.) at Fairfield Warde.

Wilton, meanwhile, will take a 14-8 record into the Class LL state tournament.

"Nobody expected us to get back into the semifinals this year, but it just shows how hard these kids worked and [how] they wanted to prove to everybody that they could do it,” said Wilton head coach Joel Geriak. “I think nerves got to them at the beginning of the game, and then when [Danbury] jumped all over us they put their heads down and could never recover from that. Let’s hope that they can put this game behind them and turn their focus to states."

Danbury’s Marcus Fox scored the game’s first nine points, and when teammate Tyren McCrea drained  a three-pointer, the Hatters had a quick a 12-0 lead. Wilton hurt itself with turnovers, and when the Warriors did get off shots they were short or off the mark.

Jack Williams got Wilton's first basket of the game with 2:10 remaining in the first quarter.

Ahead 14-4 at the end of the first period, Danbury outscored the Warriors, 18-14, in the second quarter to grow their lead to 32-18 at halftime.

Whatever Wilton tried to do on offense, the Hatters had an answer. Danbury jumped into passing lanes to pick off passes; closed the lane to prevent the Wilton guards from driving to the basket; and denied the perimeter, not allowing Wilton to get off three-point attempts.

On the defensive end, the Warriors couldn’t keep Danbury from getting offensive rebounds and couldn’t match the Hatters' speed and athletic ability.

“Our game plan was to keep them off the boards and try to stop (Marcus) Fox around the basket," said Geriak. "We didn’t get either done; he’s (Fox) a strong player in the paint and we needed to be much more physical in playing him.”

Although Wilton trailed by 14 points at halftime, a comeback was not out of the question. But when Danbury began the second half on a 14-0 run to extend its lead to 46-18, the Hatters had all but locked up their trip to the championship game. Wilton was held scoreless in the second half until Matt Cronenberg hit a three-pointer with 4:20 left in the third quarter.

Drew Connolly led the Warriors with 13 points, followed by Kronenberg with nine points and Williams with eight points.

Danbury's Scott Nesbitt led all scorers with 17 points. Fox finished with 15 points and McCrea had 12 points.

Notes: Wilton was making its program-record fourth consecutive appearance in the FCIAC playoffs.