Wilton boys hoop pulls away to beat St. Joseph

A 10-0 run to open the fourth quarter was just a sign of the dominance to come from the Wilton High boys basketball team Wednesday night.

The Warriors went on to outscore St. Joseph, 22-5, in the final eight minutes to break open what was a close game and defeat the Cadets, 67-50, at the Zeoli Field House.

Wilton's fourth-quarter onslaught made it easy to forget the score was tied 45-45 after three quarters.

The Warriors (9-4) did start the game with an 11-0 run and were ahead 19-8 after the first period. All five of Wilton’s starters scored in the opening quarter.

When Wilton’s lead grew to 17 points early in the second quarter (27-10), it looked as though the home team would cruise to victory over the struggling Cadets. But the combination of  Wilton's drop in intensity, which gave the visitors open shots, and the Cadets getting hot from behind the three-point line trimmed the Warriors' lead to 32-29 at halftime.

St. Joseph (2-11) closed the first half with a 19-5 run, led by three-point shooting from Aaron Sells. The Cadets drained five three-pointers during the spurt.

St. Joseph connected for two baskets to start the second half and take its first lead of the night at 33-32. A Tyshon Williams basket then upped the Cadets' lead to 35-32.

But on the next trip down the floor, Wilton's Matt Shifrin hit a bucket and was fouled. Shifrin tied the score at 35-35 by making his free throw with 6:10 to play in the third.

The Cadets got the lead back to four at 41-37, but consecutive three-pointers by Richie Williams and Shifrin put Wilton ahead 43-41 with 1:20 left in the third period.

“I told the team at halftime that you can’t give your opponent hope by letting up on your game. It gives them the belief that you’re beatable and that they can win the game..." said Wilton head coach Joel Geriak.“We started taking some poor shots, left their three-pointer shooters open on the wing, and we didn’t crash the boards for rebounds. But give the kids credit; they buckled down and started to attack the basket in the fourth quarter and pulled away for the win."

Shifrin opened the fourth quarter with another three-pointer, followed by a basket down low and off the glass by Lucas Savoie as the Warriors began their decisive push. Shifrin scored nine points in the fourth quarter and Scott Shouvlin had six points on a pair of three-pointers.

Shifrin finished with a game-high 26 points, including nine baskets from close range. Shifrin scored several times driving the lane, as he saw an opening and got past his defender. He also scored off of steals that resulted in fast-break baskets, protecting the ball nicely for layups.

“Yeah, we kind of got a little happy in the second quarter and we took our foot off the gas,” said Shifrin. “There are eight seniors on this team and we looked at each other and said we've got to refocus and come away with the win.

"We had lost three of our last four games coming into tonight, so we wanted to get a win and put those losses behind us," added Shifrin. "We know going forward that we need to keep winning to make it into the (FCIAC) post-season.”

In addition to Shifrin’s 26 points, Richie Williams finished with 10 points, Shouvlin had nine points, Savoie had eight points, and Michael Bingaman added seven points.