Westhill lines up 72-67 win over Wilton boys hoop team

The Wilton High boys basketball team lost its second game in a row Thursday night, falling to Westhill, 72-67, at the Zeoli Field House.

The game was won at the foul line for the Vikings, as they connected on 16 of 19 free throws in the second half, hitting 11 of 12 in the final four minutes of the game. In contrast, the Warriors, who didn’t get to the free-throw line as much, were only 13 of 21 from the foul line.

“I’m not saying we should have won; it was a game we could have won,” said Wilton head coach Joel Geriak. “We knew this was going to be a tough week for us with Stamford (a 77-61 loss on Tuesday) and Westhill, two top teams in the FCIAC. We had Westhill on the ropes and we put ourselves in a position to win the game, but we just couldn’t do what we needed to come away with the win.

"We got off to a slow start and I don’t know why, and that takes energy away from the team," added Geriak. "It forces us to use a lot of energy to battle back and then we just don’t seal the deal. After being down early we started attacking the basket and spreading the floor in the second quarter and we got back into the game.”

The Vikings (10-1 overall, 9-0 FCIAC) got out to a 15-5 lead in the first quarter and held a 22-13 advantage at the end of the quarter. Westhill’s Tyrell Alexander lit up the Warriors for 11 points in the first period. The Warriors gave Westhill too many second-chance points by not doing a good job on the offensive boards.

Wilton (7-3 overall) showed some life in the second quarter, as the hosts opened the period with a 7-0 run to cut their deficit to two points, at 22-20, thanks to Matt Shifrin's two baskets and Richie Williams's three-pointer. Westhill got its lead back to 30-23, but three straight three-pointers from Scott Shouvlin pulled Wilton to within one, 33-32, at the half.

Shifrin connected to start the third quarter to give Wilton its first lead at 34-33. Shouvlin followed with two baskets, the second on a goal-tending call to put Wilton ahead, 38-33.

The Warriors maintained a five-point lead at 42-37 after Shifrin dished the ball to Michael Bingaman for two baskets. Wilton held a 49-47 advantage at the end of the third quarter.

Westhill tied the game at 49-49 to start the fourth quarter, but Richie Williams answered with a three-pointer to put the Warriors in front again.

With Wilton down by three points with just over three minutes to play, Shifrin drove the lane for basket and was fouled. He converted the free throw to tie the game at 60-60.

But that’s when Westhill’s Jeremiah Livingston took over, sinking nine of his 10 foul shots to keep the Vikings ahead. Livingston had a game-high 31 points for Westhill.

Shouvlin finished with 22 points and Shifrin had 19 points for the Warriors.

“We didn’t shoot well from the foul line and we let Livingston go to the foul line too many times,” said Shouvlin. "We had some stupid turnovers and we didn’t rotate well on the weak side to get defensive rebounds. Mentally we’re still up, we just have to learn from the mistakes we made this week and move on.”

Alexander added 24 points for Westhill.