Wilton boys hoop team rallies to win tourney title

For the first time this season, the Wilton High boys basketball team didn’t get out to an early lead.

But the Warriors' five starting seniors stayed composed and powered a strong second half that vaulted the hosts to an 83-66 victory over Staples in the championship game of the Wilton Holiday Tournament on Monday night at the Zeoli Fieldhouse.

Wilton is now a perfect 4-0 on the season and gets a well-earned break until next week.

The Warriors trailed 21-20 after the first quarter of Monday's title game. Staples then built an 11-point lead, 40-29, in the second quarter.

Wilton finished the first half on a 14-0 run to take a 43-40 lead into the break. Richie Williams and Matt Shifrin hit back-to-back three-pointers to fuel the comeback, and when Shifrin drained another three-pointer the Warriors had a three-point halftime lead.

At times the game resembled a three-point contest, as the two teams combined to make 22 treys on the night (12 for Wilton, 10 for Staples).

Staples hit two quick three-pointers to open the third quarter and go ahead, 46-43. Wilton, which at points in the first half played poor defense, finally got some stops in the third quarter, forcing the Wreckers to turn the ball over.

With the score knotted at 48-48 and 5:21 to play in the third — after a Shifrin three-pointer — the Warriors embarked on an 18-8 run to carry a 66-56 lead into the final quarter. Wilton got two more three-pointers from Shifrin and one from Jack Williams during the third-quarter push.

Wilton broke the game open in the fourth quarter, scoring the first 13 points to increase its lead to 79-59.

Shifrin finished with a game-high 30 points, including six three-pointers.

“We know we didn’t play well in the first half on defense and that gave them the lead," said Shifrin. "But we stuck with it and played better in the second half.”

Richie Williams finished with 22 points for Wilton (16 in the first half) and Michael Bingaman added 11 points.

“We’re playing with confidence and we responded well to being behind,” said Williams. “Staples is probably the best all-around team we’ve played this year and we were able to keep calm and battle back for the win."

Justin Seidman led Staples with 15 points. Three other Wreckers added 13 points each.