Masuk boys come back then hang on versus Stratford

Ben Londano scored a dozen points in Masuk's win over Stratford on Monday.

MONROE. CT — Down 10, the Masuk High boys basketball team battled back to defeat visiting Stratford 70-65 on Monday night. It was Senior Night for the Panthers who improved to 9-8 overall.

“Great game and amazing team win,” Masuk Coach Pete Szklarz said.

The Panthers scored 18 points in each the third and fourth quarters. They built a lead and hung on as several players stepped up at the free throw line with a 12-for-14 performance in the fourth quarter, part of Masuk’s 19-for-22 from the line in the game.

Masuk had a balanced scoring attack led by Ethan Palma with 16 points. Palma was also a monster on the glass with key rebounds.

Ben Londano had 12 points and Mitch DeBernardo, Alex Simouldis and Colin Franciso all scored 10 to help pace the offense. Makai Roy and Oliver Irving each had six points.

The Panthers were effective in close and from the outside. Simouldis hit a trio of 3-pointers and Londano sank a pair from downtown as the Panthers connected eight times from 3-point range overall.

Seniors Londono, Francisco, Roy, Domenichelli and Palma were all recognized on this special night.

Szklarz is pleased with how his team has competed this winter, overcoming injuries in addition to tough competition.

“Guys have been stepping up and contributing. It’s a next up mentality,” the coach said.

In addition to battling for a possible South-West Conference Tournament spot, the Panthers, who have already qualified for the state postseason, are looking to bolster their positioning in that tourney.

“We want to keep playing hard and winning games, and improving our seeding for the state tournament,” Szklarz said.

The Panthers are home Thursday when Newtown visits at 7 p.m. The regular season winds down with visits to New Fairfield and Joel Barlow, Feb. 13 and 15, both at 7 p.m.

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