Luca Mirabello led Northwest Catholic to a win over neighboring Hall with a 24-point performance Tuesday night in West Hartford.
By Marlon Pitter
As adjacent as Northwest Catholic and Hall high schools are, the players on the boys’ basketball teams could not get any closer in a physical and energetic contest Tuesday night.
The score was not narrow enough for Hall to secure the win, however, as the Lions kept the Warriors at bay in a 68-53 road victory behind a 24-point performance by senior Luca Mirabello.
“It’s always a very competitive game,” said Northwest Catholic head coach John Mirabello. “Those kids play very hard, and they have some kids who can make plays. [James] DeCrisantis and [Maxwell] Boyd, those kids were tough for us to handle, but our kids kept their poise and we needed to make some plays at the end of the game, [and] we made them.”
Despite the loss, Hall head coach Bryan Moretti said the energy from fans supporting each of the schools was a positive part of the night.
“It’s high school sports,” Moretti said. “It’s what it should be.”
Northwest Catholic and Hall traded baskets early, but the Lions broke open an early 6-5 lead and turned it into a 21-7 advantage with a 14-2 run during the last five minutes of the first quarter.
Hall could not cut into Northwest Catholic’s lead before halftime and trailed 38-24, as both teams scored 17 points in the second quarter, led by Mirabello, who had 17 points of his own for the Lions at the break.
The Warriors attempted a run at a comeback offensively in the second half but were outscored 13-11 in the third quarter, facing a 51-35 deficit going into the fourth. From there, Mirabello found his way to the charity stripe line early and often in the fourth quarter, knocking down five of his six free throw attempts to secure the win for Northwest Catholic with his team in the bonus.
Along with Mirabello, Luke Fox and Nicholas Gomeau scored in double figures for the Lions, chipping in 15 and 11 points, respectively.
DeCristantis led the Warriors with 21 points, including six made 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Boyd scored most of his 16 points on the night from the paint.
“We’re asking a lot from Max right now because we’re trying to get him to come into his own and I feel like he’s the man,” said Moretti. “He should be our guy.”
Northwest Catholic shot 76 percent from the free throw line, converting on 13 of 17 attempts. Hall shot only 43 percent, making six of 14 free throw attempts.
With the win, the Lions improve to 4-2 on a four-game winning streak. The Warriors, meanwhile, have dropped two straight after losing to Southington on Monday night and fall to 1-6.
Both teams play again Thursday with Northwest Catholic hosting Newington High School on Thursday night, while Hall will take on Hartford Public High School at home in West Hartford.
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