boys basketball Immaculate’s defense prevails
DANBURY— All it took was a couple of makes, and momentum was finally back.
After struggling to find the bottom of the hoop at all through three quarters, a lead was all the Immaculate boys basketball team needed to regain its footing.
Not allowing a point in the final 10 minutes didn’t hurt, either.
Methodically picking apart SWC rival and No. 9 Newtown down the stretch, the Mustangs pitched a fourth-quarter shutout in winning 40-27 Monday night. A 19-0 run to end the game wasn’t quick or explosive, but it was equally effective in starting a challenging week in the best possible manner.
Quinn Guth scored 17 points for Immaculate (10-2), which shook off Saturday’s loss at St. Bernard.
“We knew we just had to be there towards the end, and once we took the lead then we take control of the game,” said Mustangs coach Nelson Mingachos. “It’s our type of ball game; they also got cold in the fourth quarter. For Newtown not to score a point in a quarter is rare.”
Mustangs senior Mike Basile hit back-to-back jumpers to start the fourth to give his team a 28-27 advantage. The lead was 32-27 with over five minutes left when the game went in the deep freeze; Immaculate forced several turnovers and missed shots, and ran the clock out between late layups until the win was safe.
“A team doesn’t want to stay on defense for three minutes,” Mingachos said. “They want to get up and shoot right away because there’s not much time left; we’re taking our time and looking for the best shots. The best is when you can take a minute off and get a layup out of it.”
Immaculate thrived down the stretch, a tool they used numerous times en route to the SWC final and the Division II title. A playoff schedule this week is underway as the Mustangs host Bunnell (Thursday) and Waterford (Saturday).
“We embrace it and love the challenge,” Guth said. “We love playing basketball especially against good competition … the coaches do a great job of preparing us, and we just like playing in atmospheres that are packed.”
Newtown was without standout Robert DiSibio when the Nighthawks suffered their first loss on Thursday against Stratford in overtime. He retuned to score seven points Monday as Newtown initially thrived in the road environment through three quarters.
“To beat a team as good and as well-coached as Immaculate, you have to play for four quarters,” Newtown coach Tim Tallcouch said. “I thought we played three quarters real well; crunch time they proved to be a little more mentally stronger
Tucker Garrity led the Nighthawks with 12 points.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Mike Basile, Immaculate: The ball was in his hands for most of the game, dictating the tempo and finishing the night with 12 points.
“Last year we went to the wire a lot in the fourth quarter,” Guth said. “Having senior captains (Basile and Jack Woods) means a lot to us in that situations because they know how to keep us poised and help us down the stretch.”
“I only felt that we pressed in that fourth quarter once they took the lead,” Tallcouch said. “I thought our shots were short; our rebounding unfortunately was not up to what we normally can rebound the basketball.”
IMMACULATE 40, NEWTOWN 27
Riley Ward 1 0-0 2 Tucker Garrity 6 0-1 12 Robert DiSibio 3 0-2 7 Todd Petersen 2 2-2 6 Jack Petersen 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 2-5 27.
Mike Basile 5 2-2 12 Quinn Guth 5 4-5 17 Jack Woods 0 0-0 0 Sean Guiry 2 1-2 5 Matt Schlichtig 3 0-0 6. Totals: 15 7-9 40.
NEWTOWN 7 12 8 0 — 27
IMMACULATE 10 7 7 16 — 40
3-pointers: N—DiSibio; I—Guth 2.