Wilton boys hoop team falls to Greenwich in FCIAC playoffs (updated)

The Wilton High boys basketball team trailed by as many as 21 points in the fourth quarter. To their credit, the Warriors showed no quit and battled back, but still came up short as they bowed out of the conference playoffs with a 70-62 loss to Greenwich in an FCIAC quarterfinal game Saturday at Fairfield Ludlowe.

The seventh-seeded Warriors (12-9) will now await the start of the state tournament, while the second-seeded Cardinals (19-2) will now face third-seed Ridgefield in the semifinals on Tuesday.

Wilton held a slim 15-12 lead after the first quarter on the strength of three-pointers from Matt Shifrin, Richie Williams and Eric Houska. Greenwich hit two baskets to open the second quarter to take a 16-15 lead, and the game was tied at 19-19 with 4:24 left in the period.

But the Cardinals went on to outscore the Warriors, 16-8, the rest of the quarter to carry a 35-27 lead into halftime. The run came mostly with 6'9" center Alex Wolf on the bench with two personal fouls and CJ Byrd  also temporarily sidelined with a cut lip.

Greenwich hit four three-pointers during that surge, three by Tommy Povinelli, who carried the Cardinals with the two key starters on the bench. Wilton committed a critical turnover under its own basket with 10 seconds to play before halftime, leading to two more Greenwich points from the foul line. Wolf went to the free-throw line nine times in the first half, converting six.

Wolf connected for a bucket to start the second half and give his team a 10-point lead. The Cardinals then used a 9-0 run late in the third period to build a 54-36 advantage, until Scott Shouvlin drained a three-pointer to end the period with Wilton down 54-39. The Greenwich run included a defensive lapse by the Warriors, allowing Byrd a free lane to the basket for a dunk off an in-bound pass.

The fourth-quarter comeback attempt by the Warriors failed, as missed shots, a lack of offensive rebounds, and a failure to get stops on defense allowed Greenwich to grow its lead to 62-41.

Wilton didn’t go down without a fight, outscoring the Cardinals, 21-8, in the final minutes, mainly after Greenwich coach Bill Brehm sent his starters to the bench.

Both teams were near perfect in the fourth quarter from the foul line. Greenwich was a perfect eight for eight and Wilton seven for eight. Greenwich did a good job in guarding the three-point line, forcing the Warriors to put up their shots quickly or shoot from well beyond the arc.

The Cardinals were also quick and long on defense and made the Warriors adjust their perimeter passing. Getting the ball down low was not an option with Wolf in the post.

“They’re a good all-around team and they wore us down; we just lost our legs in the second half, which helped them pull away,” said Wilton head coach Joel Geriak. "The kids worked hard and I’m proud of them.

"We need to play smarter with the ball," added Geriak. "I told the team at the end of the third quarter let’s not go down easy. We did our best against Wolf and Byrd, but then number three (Povinelli) killed us with his threes.”

Shifrin had a team-high 17 points for Wilton, accounting for four of the Warriors’ 10 three-pointers. Peter Ciaccio added 13 points, while Houska had nine points and Richie Williams eight points. Houska and Williams both fouled out in the final quarter.

Byrd paced Greenwich with 23 points. Povinelli had 19 points, including five three-pointers, and Wolf added 16 points.