Northwest Catholic Coach John Mirabello Takes 600th Victory; Matt Curtis sets goalscoring record

Last week, the North West Catholic boys basketball team was just trying to get through a long string of tough games.

The Lions had to play East Catholic on Tuesday, had a senior night on Friday against Glastonbury, then had to turn around and play unbeaten Notre Dame-West Haven on Saturday.

After his team’s win on Tuesday and Friday, coach John Mirabello needed one more win to reach 600 points. Its senior point guard Matt Curtis needed 32 points to break the school record of 1,699 set by Norman Bailey in 1980.

Mirabello did not speak to the players about either stage.

“[Last week] it was a lot,” he said. “Nobody needed to know the numbers.”

But Curtis scored 38 points and Northwest beat Notre Dame, 69-60.

“It was special that the two crossed paths in one match against an exceptional team,” said Mirabello. “They jumped on us early and we were struggling. The kids kind of dragged on and then things turned in our favor in the second half.

This is Mirabello’s 35th year coaching with Northwest Catholic.

“I had the chance to do this for a long time, and if it was meant to be, it would happen,” he said.

He also pointed out that Curtis probably could have reached his milestone sooner if the season hadn’t ended at the start of 2020 and last year had also been cut short. There hasn’t been a state tournament for the past two years due to the pandemic.

“He could have had 10-15 more games, so what numbers could he have put up, who knows,” he said. “It was pretty amazing that he was able to break the record by missing a few games.”

Players of the week

Damar Artis, weaver: Artis had 11 assists, 16 points and four steals in a 79-62 victory over Areospace on Tuesday.

Ben Bochicchio, St. Paul: Bochicchio hit a 3-pointer with 7.5 seconds left to power St. Paul over Valley Regional 42-41 Thursday night. Bochicchio had 14 points.

Jayden Buckle, Windsor Locks: Buckle scored 30 points in a 69-45 win over Coventry on Tuesday and 33 in an 82-39 win over East Windsor on Thursday.

Amari Cruz, Innovation: Cruz scored 24 points in a 54-40 victory over Civic Leadership on Thursday.

Matt Curtis, Northwestern Catholic: Curtis scored 38 points to break the school career record and help the Lions beat previously undefeated Notre Dame-West Haven on Saturday.

Riley Fox, Asshole: Fox scored 38 points against EO Smith, 16 against Tolland and 34 against RHAM in a 3-0 week for Conard.

Justin Hackett, Lyman Hall: Hackett had 28 points in a 79-47 victory over Foran on Thursday.

Joey Johnson, Windham Technician: Johnson scored 30 points in a 76-71 win over Norwich Tech on Tuesday.

Alec Lorenzo, MLC: Lorenzo had 26 points in Tuesday’s 80-55 win over Civic Leadership.

Dajon Nelson, Prince Tech: Nelson had 24 points in a 65-60 victory over Weaver on Monday and 17 in a 95-62 win over Windham Tech on Friday.

Teams of the week

Bristol Central: Bristol Central beat Middletown and Maloney last week to remain unbeaten at 19-0 (ahead of Monday’s crosstown rivalry game against Bristol Eastern), and the Rams have played a quality schedule against top teams such as East Catholic, Windsor , Springfield Central and Wilbur Cross.

Farmington: Farmington (14-5) beat East Catholic 85-76 in double overtime on Friday behind 23 points from Jared Young.

Simbury: The Trojans had lost four of their last five games before beating Bloomfield 60-50 on Friday night. Chris Kokines had 20 points and Aidan Riordan added 19.

Scenarios of the week

  • Morgan handed Cromwell his first loss of the season on Friday, 38-35, after losing 60-50 to the Panthers on Feb. 14. Senior Alex Fratamito led the Huskies with 15 points.

  • SMSA, which had won four straight games, lost 69-68 to Stonington on Friday in a non-conference game. Stonington, who had won 12 straight, won on a layup from Dorian White with 5.8 seconds left. SMSA (16-3) has one more regular season game to play on Tuesday against East Hampton.

  • Weaver has won 14 of his last 15 games, including victories last week against Aerospace and MLC. The Beavers (15-4) are ranked third in CIAC Division V standings behind Terryville and SMSA.

Games to watch this week

CCC Tournament: First-round matches will be played to the highest seeds on Thursday, then the quarter-finals will take place at Enfield on Saturday.

SCC Tournament: The first-round matches are on Thursday and the quarter-finals on Saturday, all at the top-seeded schools.

Capital Prep at Weaver, Tuesday: Capital Prep (13-5), which has won three straight, travels to Weaver (15-4) for a Hartford Schools showdown.

Lori Riley can be reached at lriley@courant.com.

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