Gerena’s buzzer-beating basket gives Wilby boys a great comeback victory

The situation wasn’t great for the Wilby boys’ basketball team entering the waning moments of Tuesday night’s game against Ansonia in the Reggie O’Brien Gymnasium.

The Wildcats trailed the upstart Chargers by four points with 77 seconds left. What happened next was unbelievable, and it led to a 61-59 Wilby victory over a stunned Ansonia squad. The Wildcats improved to 9-2 while the Chargers fell to 4-6.

Brandon Beamon drove baseline for a layup to make the score 59-57 in favor of Ansonia. Joseph Nieves, playing in place of Khani Glenn, stole the inbound pass and scored to tie the game, 59-59. Nieves deflected the ensuing inbound, and Juny Gerena grabbed it, leading to a Wilby timeout with 41.7 seconds to go.

Out of the timeout, the Wildcats went into a four corners offense to run down the clock. The Chargers reached in on Gerena to make the Wildcats restart their offense with 8.4 seconds left. Nieves inbounded the ball in the backcourt to Gerena. Gerena moved from right to left around a Louis Howard screen. Gerena blew past the Ansonia defender and got into the lane. Gerena put up a left-handed layup, which banked in perfectly off the glass. Time expired, and Wilby pulled off a stunning two-point victory.

Gerena finished with 10 points, none bigger than his last two of the night. D.J. Melendez led the Wildcats with 14 points while Beamon added 13. Elijah Steward chipped in eight points. Wilby’s win allowed it to stay right behind WCA (10-1) in the Division III state rankings.

PHOTO CAPTION: Juny Gerena’s buzzer-beating layup gave the Wilby boys’ basketball team a stunning 61-59 comeback victory over Ansonia on Tuesday night. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, file)