Masuk makes big push in SWC playoff loss to ND

The Masuk High boys basketball team came back from a 10-point halftime deficit and made it a one possession game in the third quarter, before third-seeded Notre Dame of Fairfield held on and posted a 73-61 victory over the sixth-seeded Panthers in the South-West Conference quarterfinal round at David Strong Gymnasium in Monroe on Saturday.
“We went out there and played well,” Masuk High coach John DeGennaro said of his cagers. “We had our shot, but ultimately there was too much (Dan) Upchurch and too much (Earl) Coleman.
Upchurch scored 29 points and Coleman finished with 15 to lead coach Vin Laczkoski’s team into Tuesday’s semifinal at Newtown High opposite either second-seeded Bethel High or seventh-seeded Weston.
Notre Dame took an 18-17 lead in a first quarter that was tied four times.
Dominic Migliaro, who scored 10 of his 25 points in the opening period, made a  fade-away jumper on the move from the baseline to narrow the ND margin to one.
Upchurch scored 12 first-period points for the Lancers.
Colemen led Notre Dame’s 20-8 run in the second quarter with eight points, six during a 12-0 stretch that took the score from 24-21 to 36-21.
Dan Cahill, who battled the taller Lancers evenly throughout, broke the 3:26 Panther scoreless skein with a bucket inside off a fine pass from David Clarke.
He had help from Ryan Butler against the Lancers’ frontcourt tandem of Kevin Laing and Jaylen Jennings
It was 38-28 Notre Dame at the half and 42-30 when Masuk scored on five straight trips down court in the third quarter.
Matt Gerak (17 points) had seven points and two assists in the period, including a 3-pointer with 2:39 left in the stanza to make it a 45-42 game.
Pat Cheever did a good job tracking Upchurch during this stretch, and Alex Plescia came off the bench to chip in with a steal.
Upchurch scored one basket and assisted on another to stem the tide, and despite Ryan Fitzpatrick’s offensive putback, Notre Dame led 53-47 with eight minutes to go.
Masuk scored on four straight possessions after opening the final frame with a missed field goal, but Notre Dame matched them point-for-point.
Coleman led a 6-for-6 performance from the line for the Lancers in the last three minutes.

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