DANBURY — Without an object above the backboard that determines when a team chooses to shoot, players are free to play ball control with the lead at any stage, particularly in the fourth quarter.
With five guards capable of both handling the ball and driving to the hoop, a lead is a good thing to have for the Immaculate boys basketball team.
The Mustangs’ patience paid off as a steady effort on offense combined with an excellent performance on the other end of the court led to a 47-41 win over Pomperaug in a clash of SWC contenders Friday night. Jake Payton (15 points), Mike Basile (12) and Quinn Guth (12) were all in double figures for Immaculate (6-2), which bounced back from a defeat to ND-Fairfield on Tuesday.
“Today (Pomperaug) had some bigger guys out there and we took advantage of it,” Immaculate coach Nelson Mingachos said. “We tried to pull them out, go by them, and we got some easy buckets.”
The Mustangs used a strong third quarter to open a 36-28 lead, one they nursed down the stretch. Though the tempo slowed down significantly to start the fourth — each team had just two points at the 3:45 mark — Immaculate’s defense made the advantage hold up.
“We were just playing solid, good defense,” Mingachos said. “They were stepping to the ball, communicating, and boxing out was huge today. To have our small guards box out those bigger guys was a big credit to them.”
Pomperaug pulled to within 36-33 early in the fourth, and to within 40-36 with 2:25 to play. Immaculate then made four straight foul shots in a 30 second span to close it out.
Chase Breyer and Jason Hirschauer each had 11 to pace the Panthers.
The Panthers (7-2) have thrived in close games throughout the season; four of their seven wins have come by five points or less, with a fifth decided in overtime. Offensive flow was tough to come by with an aggressive Immaculate defense combined with cold shooting.
“When you score 41 points in a varsity game, you should pretty much lose it,” Yachtis said. “We struggled offensively; we were a little under the weather and tired. We just didn’t make any shots.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Jake Payton, Immaculate: His three 3-pointers helped open an early advantage.
“We battled and played hard the whole game so I’m not really disappointed in our effort,” Yachtis said. “I think we’ll see them again, I hope we do. Immaculate is one of the best teams in the conference.”
IMMACULATE 47, POMPERAUG 41
Jason Hirschauer 3 3-6 11 Zach McGettigan 3 0-2 6 Mario Paniccia 3 0-1 7 Chase Breyer 4 0-0 11 David Satkowski 1 1-2 3 Will McDonald 1 0-0 3. Totals: 15 4-11 41.
Jake Payton 5 2-7 15 Mike Basile 4 4-8 12 Jack Woods 0 1-2 1 Quinn Guth 5 2-2 12 Sean Guiry 1 0-0 3 Ronan Doherty 2 0-0 4. Totals: 17 9-19 47.
POMPERAUG12 11 8 10 — 41
IMMACULATE12 13 11 15 — 47
3-pointers: Hirschauer 2, Panicia, Breyer 3, McDonald; I—Payton 3, Guiry.