Maloney, Williams lead red-hot Wilton past St. Joseph

James Maloney and Jack Williams combined for 41 points to carry the Wilton High boys basketball team to a 64-55 victory over St. Joseph on Friday night at the Zeoli Field House.

It was the sixth straight win for the Warriors, who are now 6-1 this season.

Maloney, a senior who did not play high school basketball the last two years, hit for a career-high 20 points and hauled down 13 rebounds. Maloney also had an early blocked shot to get the student section on its feet.

"My teammates made it easy for me tonight, getting me the ball under the basket,” said Maloney. “Coach [Joel] Geriak deserves a lot of credit for the successes of the team; he gets us excited before the game to go out and play. He keeps us focused and instills passion into us to play hard and give it our best."

Williams, a junior captain and Wilton's leading scorer, had another solid performance with 21 points.

The game was tied three times in a first quarter that included five lead changes and three three-pointers for St. Joseph. Williams hit a shot to end the first quarter with Wilton ahead, 17-15.

The Warriors went on a 13-2 run to open the second quarter and go ahead, 30-17 lead. Five Wilton players scored, with Williams and Sean Breslin supplying three-pointers. Drew Connolly added a steal and a layup off a cross-court pass during the run.

St. Joseph cut into the Warriors' lead with two more three-pointers late in the second period to draw within seven points, 34-27, at the half.

After the Cadets scored two baskets to start the third quarter, Wilton went on a 13-0 run to take command. The run started with a Connolly three-pointer and a one-handed put-back by Maloney.

Ahead 53-39 going into the final quarter, the Warriors took their biggest lead of the night at 58-41 early in the period when Maloney was on the receiving end of a give-and-go for a basket.

St. Joseph made a late attempt to get back into the game with two more three-pointers (nine for the game), but two foul shots by Connolly put a stop to the comeback attempt.

Once again, Geriak received all-out effort at both ends of the court from his players. The Warriors also do an excellent job of working the ball around on offense, not forcing bad shots and playing under control.

“Everybody on this team knows their role and they go out and give me a great effort every night,” said Geriak.“I can’t say enough about the way Maloney played tonight; not only did he have a big night scoring, he also dominated the boards on both ends of the floor and closed down the lane in our two-three zone defense.

“We knew we had to close down the lane and make them beat us from the outside," added Geriak. "On offense we kept attacking the rim, and when the shot wasn’t there they either kicked it out to the wing or dished it off to Maloney."