Wilton boys hoop romps in state opener (updated)

In its first state tournament game, the Wilton High boys basketball team led wire to wire Tuesday night.

The 10th-seeded Warriors got out to an early lead and rolled to an 87-51 win over 23rd-seed East Haven in the Class L first round at the Zeoli Field House.

Wilton will now travel to Naugatuck to face the seventh-seeded Greyhounds in a second-round game Thursday night. Naugatuck edged 26th-seed Harding, 60-59, in another first-round game Tuesday.

Scott Shouvlin opened the scoring for Wilton against East Haven, as he got the home-court roll on two three-pointers to put the Warriors up 6-2. The closest the Yellowjackets would get was at 8-7, midway through the first period.

Two free throws by Matt Shifrin and a steal and basket by Richie Williams started the Warriors on a 16-0 run that culminated in a 24-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. Five different Warriors scored during the run.

East Haven got two quick baskets to start the second quarter, but Wilton settled in with tough defense and baskets from three-point land and in the paint to keep the visitors from getting back in the game.

Ahead 32-15, the Warriors went on an 11-0 run to increase their lead to 43-15, and the hosts were in front 45-18 at halftime. Michael Bingaman had the hot hand for Wilton in the first half with 14 points, followed by Shifrin with 10 points. Bingaman’s points came off put-back baskets or drives to the hoop.

“We came out very focused and with a lot of energy tonight,” said Bingaman. “We wanted to get our loss [to Norwalk] in the FCIAC playoffs behind us and out of our minds. It was important for us to get off to a good start and get a big lead on them. We kept up the energy in the second half to make sure we came away with the win.”

The Warriors carried a 62-32 lead into the final eight minutes of the game, prompting head coach Joel Geriak to send his starters to the bench and give his reserves plenty of time in the fourth quarter. Senior Miles Elmasry took advantage of his extra playing time, scoring six points in the fourth quarter. Sophomores Drew Connolly (six points) and Jack Wood (three points) and juniors Cory Macdonald (two points) and Michael Brown (two points) also provided scoring in the fourth quarter for Wilton.

"It was a great team effort tonight and I was able to give my starters some rest tonight, although none of them were happy about it because they never want to come off the floor,” said Geriak. “We played them man-to-man on defense, with [Scott] Shouvlin covering Nick Durso, their leading scorer. Scotty did a nice job keeping him in check, didn’t allow him to hit a three-pointer, and forced him into taking poor shot attempts.

Bingaman led Wilton with 16 points. Elmasry and Richie Williams each finished with 11 points, while Shifrin had 10 points, Shouvlin nine points and T.J. Savvaides seven points.

East Haven’s Durso led all scorers with 18 points, converting 12 of 13 free throws. Connor Reynolds chipped in with 11 points for the Yellowjackets, who finished the season with an 11-10 record.