Smith leads Wilton past Fairfield Warde
For the second time this week, the Wilton High boys basketball team knocked off an opponent that sat in front of the Warriors in the FCIAC divisional standings.
A 5-0 run to end the first quarter got Wilton rolling towards a 79-62 victory over Fairfield Warde on Thursday night at the Zeoli Fieldhouse.
The light was green for both teams to shoot from 3-point land and that proved to be the only stat in which Warde had an advantage. The teams combined for 24 3-pointers, with Warde hitting 13 and Wilton making 11.
“They’re a dangerous team from behind the 3-point line,” Wilton coach Joel Geriak said about Warde. “We gave them too many open looks from there, but they also knocked some down when we had a hand in their face.”
Junior Andrew Smith led the Warriors (7-2 overall, 5-1 FCIAC) with 20 points, sinking four 3-pointers. “We came out and played an up-tempo style on offense, crashed the boards, and worked hard on defense. All those aspects got us the win tonight.”
It was costume night in the Wilton student section, and most of the fans were dressed in Halloween-type costumes.
“Seeing that tonight and the support they give us every home game really gave us the energy for the whole game,” Smith said.
The game was close in the opening period. Warde (6-3, 4-2 FCIAC) led 10-9 with 1:13 to play before Wilton went on its 5-0 run to end the period ahead 14-10. The Warriors then scored 21 second-quarter points, widening their lead to 35-26 at halftime.
Wilton pressed on Warde’s inbound plays and made back-to-back steals late in the period. Junior Kyle Hyzy converted off both of those turnovers and led the Warriors with eight points in the second quarter.
Wilton came out with the same level of intensity and focus in the second half, maintaining a double-digit lead throughout the third quarter, which ended with the hosts ahead 56-40.
Warde began the final quarter with a quick 5-0 run to cut its deficit to 11 points, but Ryan Biberon then hit back-to-back baskets in the paint to get the Warriors back on track. Smith, Tucker Walden, and Zayvion Eusebe drained 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to push Wilton's lead to 69-47 and end any chance of a Warde comeback.
“The team played with a high level of energy the entire game tonight ... that’s what it takes to win consistently in this league, and they gave that to me tonight,” Geriak said. “We still aren’t where we need to be, but we’re getting close. We're not forcing shots; we’re making that extra pass and they are trusting each other more. I got a guy like Hyzy who sees the floor and looks for our best scoring chance.”
In addition to Smith’s game-high 20 points, Hyzy had 14 points for Wilton. Eusebe added 12 points and Biberon had 11 points.