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Northwest Catholic avenges boys who lost basketball to Wilbur Cross.

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Hartford — The Northwest Catholic graduated from Matty Curtis and Hayden Abdullah and qualified for the CCC and CIAC Division II state championship finals.

But the Lions still have Badala Diakaite on pivot and Gianni Mirabello on point. Both youth basketball players were in good shape Saturday afternoon at Trinity College.

Diakite posted a double-double (24 points, 10 rebounds) and Mirabello finished with 19 points. In his GHPA High School Basketball Classic at Ogrodnik Court, the No. 3 Northwest Catholic easily handled his No. 6 Wilbur Cross 94-56.

“It set our tone,” said Mirabello. “We came off a slow game in the first game of the season[against Farmington]and we wanted to get through it. It felt great to get out there and take a quick break.”

A 6-foot-8-inch sophomore from West Africa, Diakite was a defensive force for the Lions (2-0) as a freshman. His offensive game expanded – he made his three 3-point shots (1-1) against Cross on Saturday and earned Game MVP honors.

“[Diakite]was one of the most frustrating players[against Farmington],” said Northwest Catholic coach John Mirabello. “He’s still learning a lot about the game.”

The most anticipated game in the 5-game GHPA Invitational docket turned out to be one-sided.

Cross beat the Northwest Catholics 72-68 in this event last year. The Lions had a big first half lead last year as well, but the Governors came back to win.

“That was my motivation. We were winning in the first half, but in the second half[last season]they came back,” said Diarkayt.

Gianni Mirabello said: This meant a lot to him. I think[the loss]hit him the hardest of all of us. ”

North West then won the rest of the regular season, only losing to Bristol Central last season. These losses came in the CCC and CIAC Division II State tournament finals respectively.

“At the end of the day, that’s what we’re doing, and we’re going back there[the championship final]and trying to do it differently this time. It’s huge for us.” said Gianni Mirabello.

The governor was missing senior guard Christian Maclise, who is out with a back injury. And the Lions were ready to pounce.

The Northwest Catholics led 20 to 6 and were never threatened. It was 52-22 at halftime.

Six players scored in double figures for the Lions.

“The players were probably overwhelmed at that moment,” said Wilbur Cross coach Kevin Walton. “When that happens, it’s up to me. I mean, I’m not doing my job and I have to do a better job to make them ready to play.”

Last year Kamary Williams graduated from the post of governor. As such, Cross is set to start her five-man guard this season. This can be a problem in the rebound department.

Walton said McLies nudged his back in a preseason scrimmage against East Catholic.

“I want to be careful[with Maclise],” Walton said. “It’s a good time for the next guy to step up. Who will be our eighth, ninth guy?

Elijah Jean-Guillaume led the Governors with a game-high 25 points, while Craig Guest and Fredo Delgado each added 11 points.

Player of the Game

Badara Diakite, North West Catholic: The sophomore scored 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Lions and earned a game MVP laurel.

Citable

“Not having Chris[McLeese]hurts us, but that’s not why we lost. They’re better than us at the moment.”

—Wilbur Cross Coach Kevin Walton

joseph.morelli@hearstmediact.com; @nhr Joe Morelli

NW Catholic 94, Wilbur Cross 56

(Hartford)

Double Cross 10 12 16 18 – 56
NWC 24 28 24 18 – 94

W Cross (56)
Fredo Delgado 4 0-0 11, Craig Guest 4 0-0 11, Elijah Jean-Guillaume 9 6-8 25, Jamel Lee 1 0-0 2, Michael Singleton 1 2-2 4, Parnell Penn 0 1-2 1, Namar Othmer 0 2-4 2, Crag Van Tassel 0 0-1 0. Total 19 11-17 56.

Northwest Catholic (94)
London Jemison 3 4-4 10, Anthony Thompson 1 0-0 2, Sean Ackee 5 0-0 12, Gianni Mirabello 6 7-8 19, Jack Nieradko 4 2-2 10, Tanner Ostop 4 1-1 11, Ryan Tolliver 1 0-0 2, Liam Conklin 2 0-0 4, Badara Dykite 10 1-3 24, total 26 15-18 94.
3-point goals: Cross 7: Delgado 3, Guest 3, Guillaume); NWC 7 (Diakite 3, Akey 2, Ostop 2). Records: WC 1-1; NWC 2-0.

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