WILTON, Conn. – Wilton High School’s boys basketball team played several tight games this season. But the difference Tuesday against Stamford was that the Warriors found a way to win.
Wilton improved to 6-5 overall and 4-5 in the league with a 66-63 victory over the Black Knights. After losing three games by two points already this season, it was critical for the Warriors to squeak out a close one.
“Winning these tight games helps a lot,’’ coach Joel Geriak said. “We’ve lost so many close ones already this season. And the ones we’ve won have been by 10 or 15 points. We went over situations in practice just in case we were in another tight game. It was important for us to win one of these close games.”
The victory was also critical for the Warriors as it chases a Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference playoff berth. Halfway through the league season, Wilton is tied for 11th with Fairfield Ludlowe. The top eight teams make the league playoffs. Wilton will probably need to go 6-3 in the second half to have a shot at the playoffs. The Warriors visit Norwalk at 7 p.m. Thursday.
“Any game in the league scares me,’’ Geriak said. “Anybody can beat anybody. If we play well, we can play with anybody.”
Wilton has many strengths. Max Maudsley, who scored 21 points against Stamford, is averaging 10.2 points per game. Eric Houska leads the way with an average of 14.3, and Weston Wilbur adds 10.7. The Warriors also have experience, and crisp ballhandling by their guards make them tough to defend.
“I have a great group of seniors, and they never quit,’’ Geriak said. “They work hard every day in practice. Olondi LeGrand does so much work for us down low and doesn’t get a lot of credit. Max has been carrying us, he’s been a calming influence at point guard.”
Wilton also showed resolve at key points in Tuesday’s win. The Warriors trailed 26-17 with 4:02 in the second quarter, as a struggling Stamford team looked for the upset. The Warriors closed the half with a 15-2 run to take a 32-28 lead.
After building a nine-point lead in the third quarter, Stamford caught Wilton in the fourth quarter and tied the game at 57-57 with 2:22 to play. The Warriors hit nine-of-10 from the foul line in the final 2:07 to pull it out.
“Our team didn’t quit,’’ Geriak said. “Stamford played great defense, but we found a way to pull it out.”