Ludlowe clinches second seed by beating Wilton

On the line in Monday night’s boys basketball game between host Fairfield Ludlowe and Wilton was the second overall seed for the FCIAC playoffs, which begin this Saturday.

Behind a good defensive effort, Ludlowe was able to shut down the Warriors and come away with a 56-40 win that clinched the second seed.

Wilton (14-5 overall), which has already qualified for the conference playoffs, can finish as a top-four seed with a triumph Wednesday night at home in the regular-season finale against Bassick.

Monday night’s game got off to a fast start, with Ludlowe hitting a three-pointer to open the scoring. Matt Shifrin and Richie Williams answered right back with three-pointers of their own for a 6-3 Wilton lead.

But then the game quickly turned into a more of a defensive battle. Midway through the first quarter, Michael Bingaman hit a basket that would be the last field goal Wilton would score in the opening half.

Ahead 11-10 after the first quarter, Ludlowe outscored the Warriors, 12-5, in the second period to take a 23-15 lead into the break. All of Wilton points in the second period came from the free-throw line (five for six), as Ludlowe contained the high-scoring Warriors.

“Their size and quickness on defense made us earn our shots,” said Wilton head coach Joel Geriak. “They came out and played a physical style game and we didn’t fight back the way that we should have. We’ll try to work out the things we need to work on in practice and get ready for Wednesday's game."

After the break, things didn’t get any better for the Warriors, who couldn’t cut into the Ludlowe lead. The Falcons blocked several Wilton shots from close range, and when the Warriors did get to the rim they had trouble converting. Ludlowe also did a good job of keeping the Wilton outside shooters off balance.

The Warriors, who do battle to the end, closed the third quarter on a 5-0 run to cut the Ludlowe lead to 42-30, giving Wilton some hope for a fourth-quarter comeback. Shifrin connected for a three-pointer as time expired in the period.

But a rally wasn’t in the cards, even though Ludlowe turned the ball over seven times in the final quarter — after six turnovers in the first three quarters combined.

Ludlowe’s Matthew Doyle led all scorers with 17 points. Shifrin finished with 15 points and Richie Williams had 10 points for Wilton.