Darien boys basketball rallies, but can't get past Wilton
The Wilton Warriors boys’ basketball team defeated the Darien Blue Wave 53-51 on Tuesday night at Darien High School.
The Blue Wave got out to a 10-4 lead with 3:20 to go in the first quarter.
“Out last few games we came out slow and we wanted to change that,” said Darien head coach Charoy Bentley. “It shows how good we are, we just have to put it together for four quarters.”
Wilton closed the first quarter on a 12-0 run to take a 16-10 lead after one on three-pointers by Kyle Maatallah, Nick Kronenberg and Scott Cunningham (2). The second of Cunningham’s two three-pointers came from just inside the half court line as time expired in the quarter.
“We gave them (Darien) too many second chance opportunities in the first quarter,” said Wilton head coach Joel Geriak.
Back-to-back three’s by Henry Williams and Peter Bredahl for Darien tied the game at 16-16 with 6:33 left in the first half.
Wilton went on a 7-0 run to take a 23-16 lead with 6:18 left in the half and never looked back. A Kronenberg three-pointer gave the Warriors the lead before two Cunningham layups extended it.
“We all knew they (Wilton) were going to come back. They are coached by a great coach. They are a great team. They play very well together,” said Bentley.
Darien brought the deficit to 23-20 before Wilton ended the half on a 7-2 run thanks to three-pointers by Maatallah and Kyle Hyzy and a free throw by Hyzy. At the break, Wilton held a 30-22 advantage.
Wilton increased its lead to as much as 12 points when Maatallah knocked down a three-pointer with 1:33 left in the third quarter to put the Warriors ahead 43-31.
“We attacked the rim better (than the first quarter), we finished better and we played our tempo for the next two quarters (after the first),” said Geriak.
Jack Tierney closed the scoring quarter with a three-pointer with 30 seconds remaining to cut the Wilton lead to 43-34 after three quarters.
The Warriors opened the fourth quarter on an 8-4 run to take a 51-38 lead. That was the largest lead of the game for either team.
Darien would then close the game on a 13-2 run but it wasn’t enough. With 2:34 left and Wilton ahead 53-45, William Rollap drilled a three-pointer and followed up with a layup to cut the deficit to 53-47 with 1:57 to play. The Darien pressure was creating turnovers for Wilton as Justin Jordan converted back-to-back fast break layups to pull the Blue Wave within two with 48.6 left.
“The put pressure on us and we started to fold,” said Geriak. “Give them credit because he (Bentley) made good adjustments on us and it worked out for them.”
The Blue Wave had a chance to tie as they had the ball down two with 9.5 left but multiple attempts near the rim were off the mark as Wilton came away with the two-point victory.
“Hopefully we can put those last three or four minutes all together into a whole game,” said Bentley. “I preach to them all the time that we have to play a complete game and the most important quarters are the first and fourth.”
Wilton was led by Maatallah’s 15 points. Kronenberg had 11 and Cunningham added 10 for the Warriors. Darien was led by Williams’ 17 points.
“It’s an FCIAC win on the road. That’s what it is. I mean you win on the road, I don’t care what the score is,” said Geriak. “It’s ugly but it’s a win and it gets you set up for your next game. There’s no easy games in this league.”