A season-opening defeat at Danbury was a long time ago. Immaculate's boys' basketball team has gone unbeaten since, generally winning by double-digits, and carries an 11-1 overall mark into a Saturday, February 1 visit to tough Joel Barlow.
Teams that have had similar winning success, albeit via much different paths, clash on the hardwood for a 3 pm tip-off in Redding.
Barlow comes into the game sporting a 9-3 mark, fresh off two wins in three days — the first of which secured a state playoff spot for the Falcons. It marked the fastest run to a state playoff berth in program history. Read about that here.
While Immaculate has been involved in a lot of not so close outcomes, the Falcons have played a ton of nail-biters, most recently holding off FCIAC foe Westhill of Stamford 60-55 on January 30.
Immaculate Coach Nelson Mingachos notes that Barlow is well organized and plays with a lot of passion.
"Barlow is very similar to us with good bigs and guards that know how to play. The big credit I would give is to Coach Pat (Yerina). What he has done in a short time is remarkable. I have always said Pat is a great coach and always has his teams ready to play," Mingachos said.
Mingachos sees room for improvement despite all of the success thus far.
"We've got a lot of new kids on the court right now. They're learning and I think we're starting to get better," Mingachos said after a 56-43 win at Masuk on January 21.
The players are getting better at managing possessions differently depending on what the situation calls for, factoring in the juncture of the game.
"A good first-quarter shot might not be a good shot in the fourth quarter," Mingachos explained..
That Masuk game was very close for a long time. It was all tied at 26 apiece at the half and the Mustangs pulled away after the break.
Against the Masuk Panthers, Joey Rios had 25 points, Sean Guiry had 18 and Mike Iannetta scored 11 for the Mustangs.
In games since then, the Mustangs beat Kolbe Cathedral 42-32 and topped Notre Dame 75-59.
Immaculate, following the Barlow game, looks to have another formidable foe in the way. The Mustangs visit Newtown on Tuesday, February 4. Newtown has won six straight games going into a clash with Stratford on January 31.
Newtown has great shooters and the team works very hard to make things difficult for any opponent, Mingachos said.
"They are playing very well at this time and Tuesday should be a interesting and a exciting game. Riley Ward and Jack Peterson are great players with plenty of varsity experience and are leading by example. Year in and out Newtown is one of the better teams in the SWC," Mingachos added.
Some notable stats from the last two Immaculate games:
Versus Kolbe: - Joey Rios had 11 points, 13 rebounds - Sean Guiry had 7 points, 7 rebounds - Diego Echavarria had 10 points and 6 rebounds
- Sean Guiry had 18 points and 13 rebounds
- Joey Rios had 11 points and 10 rebounds
- Sebastian Parenti had 21 points and 3 steals
- Diego Echavarria had 13 points, 6 assists and 3 steals
- Mike Iannetta had 7 points and 5 rebounds