Dominic Migliaro scored 29 points to lead the Masuk High boys basketball team past visiting Brookfield High, 58-53, in a South-West Conference matchup on Tuesday night at Strong Gymnasium.
Ryan Fitzpatrick added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Panthers, who improved to 7-9 overall, 6-4 in the SWC, and won their third straight game.
Patrick Cheever added nine points and seven rebounds, scoring Masuk’s last seven points of the contest. With the victory, the Panthers moved within one win of qualifying for the Class L state tournament. They host Stratford High (8-7) tonight at 7 p.m.
“Everybody is fighting for a spot,” Masuk coach John DeGennaro said. “There won’t be a night where someone isn’t playing for something.”
Darric Myers paced Brookfield (5-10) with 13 points.
The Panthers led 47-37 with 5:02 left to play, after Fitzpatrick buried a 3-pointer from the left wing.
But, the Bobcats battled back with a 13-4 burst, pulling within 51-50 when Myers found Tommy Burkhart along the baseline for a layup with 1:25 left to play.
Cheever then took over down the stretch, sinking a pair of baskets and 3-of-5 foul shots to seal the victory for Masuk. The senior also grabbed some key rebounds to keep possessions alive for the Panthers.
“He got a lot of rebounds for us when we needed them,” DeGennaro said.
Ryan Korb’s 3-pointer from the top of the arc narrowed the Brookfield deficit to 56-53 with 7.8 seconds, but Cheever was fouled and hit both free throws to propel the Panthers.
The win avenged a season-opening 52-41 loss by the Panthers to the Brookfield back on Dec. 18.
“We see improvement from practice to practice, game to game,” DeGennaro said. “Two teams, Bethel and Brookfield, that beat us early in the year, we were able to beat them back here in league play. That’s important.”
The Panthers edged Bethel, 57-53, on Jan. 29 to kick off their recent winning streak.
Playing without senior forward Matt Gerak, who was out sick for the Brookfield game, Masuk opened up a 26-22 halftime edge behind 15 first-half markers from Migliaro.
The senior point guard showed off his vast offensive moves, notching baskets from nearly everywhere in the halfcourt. Migliaro hit a 3-pointer, scored on a drive to the basket, and then converted a pull-up jumper to help the Panthers open up a 10-2 lead.
“He hit shots from a little bit of everywhere,” DeGennaro said. “It makes him a tough guard.”
The Bobcats’ Boeing Brown’s jumper tied the game at 18, before a brace of free throws from Bryan Acevedo and a layup from Fitzpatrick gave Masuk a 26-22 halftime lead.
Brookfield refused to go away, reeling off a 10-3 third-quarter run and taking its first lead of the game, 34-33.
Mustafa Sakhi’s steal and fast-break dunk capped the run with 4:42 left in the period, leading to a Panther timeout.
The teams traded baskets for the remainder of the quarter, until Migliaro set up Dan Cahill for a basket to give Masuk a 39-36 heading into the final stanza.
Migliaro then made a pull-up 3-pointer, followed by a 15-foot jumper, to increase the Panther lead to 44-36 with just under six minutes left.
After Korb (11 points) knocked down the back end of a two-shot foul, Fitzpatrick hit a 3-pointer to give Masuk its largest lead of the game, 47-37.
Korb’s conventional three-point play keyed Brookfield’s last ditch effort, but Cheever rattled off the final seven Panther points to help Masuk move a stop closer to the qualifying for the SWC and Class L state tournament.
On Tuesday, the Panthers travel to face New Fairfield (4-10), before hosting Newtown (8-8) on Feb. 15 and wrapping up the regular season at Weston (7-9) on Feb. 19. All three games tip off at 7 p.m.