Westhill’s strong fourth quarter leads them past Wilton

STAMFORD — Westhill coach Howard White was unhappy with the way his team played in the fourth quarter of a loss to St. Joseph earlier in the week and he let his team hear about it at every workout since.

The team heard their coach and responded, playing perhaps their best fourth quarter of the season, scoring 27 points and trailing Wilton 68-55.

“Defence, defence. I talked to them about having to weigh in the last eight minutes,” White said. a game like this. We wanted to come out tonight and pick up where we left off. I think we did a great job defending.

Westhill (12-2, 8-1 in the FCIAC) took control of second place in the FCIAC by handing the Warriors their first league loss.

Wilton (11-2, 8-1) was riding a five-game winning streak and has little time to lick his wounds with a game at Trumbull on Tuesday before a showdown with rival Ridgefield (11-1) looming on Friday.

Wilton coach Joel Geriak said his side were out of form in the final eight minutes and could not match Westhill’s intensity or speed.

“In the fourth quarter, we pressed and did things that we haven’t done this year. Almost like (Westhill) against St. Joe’s this week,” Geriak said. and they’re a really good transition team, probably the best in the league. We tried to get them to run a few sets and they hit a couple 3s against us early on, which knocked us out of our game plan.

The speed of Westhill’s backcourt combination of JeySon Slade and Anderson Graham proved too much for Wilton who couldn’t contain the ether guard.

Graham had 21 points while Slade added 10 while dishing out several assists.

Six-foot-three senior forward Aiden Lamothe had 20 points for Westhill, including 13 points in the fourth quarter, helped by a 7-7 record from the free throw line in the quarter.

Slade and Graham managed to get penetrated all afternoon through dribbling, whether they were scoring themselves in the hoop or hitting the ball for 3 points.

“Penetration is key,” White said. “We thrive on penetrating and kicking shooters. You have to keep the teams honest. This penetration with these two guards that we have is so important. It is an important element that we bring to this league.

Wilton led by two after one quarter but Westhill took a 32-28 lead into the half.

Westhill was leading one after three but picked up the defense and made 12 free throws in the fourth quarter, beating Wilton 27-15.

Both teams play in CIAC Division II and with the win, Westhill moves into the top four, which would give them the home court advantage in the quarter-finals of the state tournament.

Wilton was paced with 16 points from Kevin Hyzy and 18 from Thomas McKiernan.

GAME PLAYER

Anderson Graham, Westhill: The senior guard consistently headed for the basket after the dribble and repeatedly led the Vikings transition attack downfield with his speed.

CITABLE

“We suffered a tough loss to St. Joe’s and it really brought us closer together, we stuck together as a team and got that ‘W’,” Graham said. “(When JeySon and I can break in) it opens up a lot of space for Chris Gattuso and Aiden (Lamothe) to drive. He opens up a lot of lanes. I’ve seen those lanes open up tonight.

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WESTHILL 68, WILTON 55

WILTON 12 16 12 15 — 55

WESTHILL 10 22 9 27—68

WILTON (11-2)

Zarius Eusebius 2 0-0 4; Thomas McKiernan7 0-0 18; Liam McKiernan 4 2-4 10; Kevin Hyzy 5 4-6 16; Max Andrews 1 0-0 2; Todd Woodring 1 1-2 3; Spencer Liston 0 0-0 0; Craig Hyzy 1 0-0 2. Totals: 21 7-12 55.

WESTHILL (12-2)

Anderson Graham 8 2-6 21; Chris Gattuso 2 0-0 5; Jeyson Slade 3 4-5 10; Aren Lamothe 0 0-0 0; Aiden Lamothe 5 9-9 20; Sergio Lemus 0 0-0 0; Jeremiah Winchester 4 1-2 12; Keith Sapp 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 16-22 68

3-point goals: Wi—T. McKiernan 4; Hyzy 2; We—Graham 3; Gattuso, Winchester 3.

Fault: Wi—Andrews.