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Boys basketball: News Times Tip-Off Tournament See you on Saturday

December 14, 2018

DANBURY — Let the rivalry renew.

The Danbury and Immaculate boys basketball teams advanced to the finals of the News Times Tip-Off Tournament for the second consecutive year with wins over Abbott Tech and Bethel respectively in the season-opener for all four schools Thursday night. Danbury toppled the Wolverines 57-28 while Immaculate beat the Wildcats 63-37.

A packed Immaculate High watched as Jack Woods scored 24 points to lead the Mustangs, who finished their win on an 18-3 run. Immaculate used several defensive bursts to fuel runs that put the game out of reach down the stretch.

Woods, Quinn Guth (11 points) and Mike Basile (nine) are key returners from last year’s squad that reached the SWC final before winning Division II. After 48 minutes against the Wildcats, the pick-your-poison element of the Mustangs’ offense remains.

“All three guards were huge for us last year,” Immaculate coach Nelson Mingachos said. “They’ve gotten better, stronger and they shoot the ball much better than they did last year.”

It took time for the offense to come alive, though, as Bethel made life difficult on the hosts. A strong run to start the third quarter made the deficit 34-25 before the Mustangs pulled away.

“There were some first-game jitters I think,” Mingachos said. “I thought Bethel played really hard … they’re going to be good the rest of the way.”

The game marked the debut of Bethel coach Matt Lisi, who spent the previous several seasons as an assistant at Barlow. He’ll be without senior captain Chris Towey for the next one-to-two months after he broke his ankle in a recent scrimmage.

“I’m proud of them,” Lisi said. “We lost by 26 but I think that isn’t indicative of how we played. We were really fighting and held them to nine points in the third quarter. I thought we had a solid game plan and executed it.”

HATTERS ROLL

Denali Burton poured in 14 points for the Hatters, who are coming off an FCIAC title. Javon Hernandez added 11 points as Danbury raced out to a 23-1 lead after one quarter against Abbott Tech.

“We played well,” Hatters coach Casey Bock said. “It was a good start to the year; we played together, played hard. Now we have to focus on on our next challenge.”

Abbott Tech tightened up after that and almost matched the Hatters score-for-score. Nazeer Priar scored 15 points to lead all scorers as the Wolverines will meet Bethel in the consolation game at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Keyon Moore had 10 points for Danbury, which has won the holiday tournament the past several seasons.

UP NEXT

The wins by Danbury and Immaculate set up a showdown between two top-10 level teams on Saturday night at 8 p.m. The gym at Danbury High was filled to capacity last season as the Hatters won 58-45.

“It’s great,” Hernandez said. “We’re just out here representing our town; it’s a great atmosphere to be in with our town behind us against kids in our town, kids we know. It’s just a fun experience.”

It’s a championship-level atmosphere that isn’t typically felt this early in the season. Both clubs lifted titles last year and will hope to do again after their tangle for city bragging rights.

“It’s bragging rights for a year,” Mingachos said. “It’s two great teams, Danbury is ranked in the top 10 and we’re on the outskirts looking in. Grab your popcorn, it’s going to be fun.”

rlacey@bcnnew.com, @ryanlacey11

DANBURY 57, ABBOTT TECH 28

DANBURY (1-0)

Denali Burton 6 0-0 14 Javon Hernandez 5 0-0 11 Jah Joyner 1 0-1 2 Keyon Moore 4 0-0 10 Isaiah Easter 1 0-0 2 Jaden Cook 2 1-3 5 Steven Gonzalez 2 0-0 4 Marson James 1 0-0 2. 22 1-4 57.

ABBOTT TECH (0-1)

Nazeer Priar 5 4-5 15 Marcos Gonzalez 2 1-2 6 Stanley Roman 0 0-2 0 Derek Taveras 2 0-0 4 Tony Aversano 1 0-0 3. Totals: 10 5-9 28.

3-pointers: D—Burton 2, Hernandez, Moore 2. AT—Priar, Gonzalez, Aversano.

DANBURY 23 8 13 12 — 57

ABBOTT TECH 1 8 6 13 — 28

IMMACULATE 63, BETHEL 37

BETHEL (0-1)

Luke Lacey 2 0-0 6 Tyler Zegray 5 1-2 14 Michael Schmidt 1 0-0 3 Kevin Legnard 1 0-0 3 Jack Carraturo 5 1-2 11. Totals: 14 2-4 37.

IMMACULATE (1-0)

Mike Basile 3 0-0 9 Guinn Guth 2 5-7 11, Jack Woods 10 1-2 24 Sean Guiry 5 2-2 12 Nick Ianetta 1 1-2 3 Sebastian Parenti 1 0-0 2 Joey Rios 1 0-0 2. Totals: 24 9-13 63.

3-pointers: B—Lacey 2, Zegray 3, Schmidt, Legnard; I—Basile, Guth 2, Woods.

BETHEL10 7 12 8 — 37

IMMACULATE19 13 9 22 — 63

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