Trumbull tops Wilton boys hoop team, 66-58
Deep into the third quarter, the Wilton High boys basketball team was going basket for basket with Trumbull on Thursday night at the Zeoli Field House.
But led by its inside game and point guard Jack Moore, Trumbull (tied with Danbury for the best overall record in the FCIAC) pulled away late to beat the host Warriors, 66-58.
The loss, coupled with Fairfield Warde's 52-48 win over Fairfield Ludlowe, allowed Warde to overtake Wilton for first place (by a half-game) in the FCIAC East Division standings. Warde is now 10-7 overall and 8-5 in the conference, while Wilton is 9-5 overall and 6-4 in the FCIAC.
Midway through the third quarter Thursday night, Wilton's Jack Williams drove to the basket and scored to cut the Trumbull lead to one point, 35-34. But the visitors finished the period on a 9-2 run to take a 44-36 lead into the final quarter.
Trumbull post player Ben McCullough had eight points down low in the third period, as his counterpart, Wilton’s James Maloney, had to play cautiously with three personal fouls.
The Warriors hung tough in the final period and twice got to within four points. With 4:24 to play, a Matt Kronenberg three-pointer cut Trumbull's lead to 52-47. But Trumbull then opened an 11-point advantage before Williams hit two late baskets for Wilton.
Kronenberg continued his impressive play for Wilton, leading the team with 22 points. The junior guard has averaged more than 20 points per game over the Warriors' last three contests. Kronenberg’s point surge is a direct correlation of opponents keying in on Williams, Wilton's leading scorer.
“Yes, things have opened up for me with the other team looking to stop Jack [Williams],” said Kronenberg. “So if he gets double-teamed, someone else should be open. We are a very complete and versatile team, which helps when the other team focuses on just one player. We didn’t play four quarters tonight. We need keep up our energy and intensity level the entire game.”
The Warriors got the game started with an opening-possession basket by Maloney and treys by Kronenberg and Drew Connolly for an early 8-4 lead. Wilton was ahead 14-12 after the first quarter, as Kronenberg got the roll on soft shot to tie the game at 12-12 and then a Michael Brown basket ended the period.
Trumbull went in front, 15-14, at the start of the evenly played second period, which ended with Wilton on top, 24-23, at halftime.
The score remained close until Trumbull went on its runs at the end of the third quarter and midway through the fourth quarter. Moore was instrumental in those spurts, scoring 19 of his game-high 30 points in the second half.
"[We] did what we could to face guard Moore," said Wilton head coach Joel Geriak, "but he finds a way to get it done and we didn’t have an answer for him tonight.”
“We didn’t get that dagger-type shot tonight when we needed,” added Geriak. “We haven’t played for over a week so I’m sure that affected our play tonight; we looked a little court rusty. Maloney’s foul trouble hurt us in the paint, and Trumbull exploited it in the third quarter."
Notes: In addition to Kronenberg’s 22 points, Williams and Connolly each added 13 points for the Warriors.
McCullough had 13 points for Trumbull, to go along with the 30 from Moore. The Eagles improved to 13-2 overall and 10-1 in the FCIAC.
The Eagles took advantage of Wilton's fouls, converting on 18 of their 24 free throws. Wilton, meanwhile, was just one of four from the line.