One more championship in the books from this past weekend, and tournament play has either begun, or will begin the next few weeks in all CIAC winter sports. It was a busy week of CIAC and league tournament action last week, with lots of great games to check in on in this edition of Eye on the CIAC. Two weeks from today (knock on wood that the weather gods cooperate) all of the CIAC winter championships will have concluded. It’s going to be a great two weeks of competition, so let’s buckle up and enjoy it.
- In one of the tightest games of the opening night of tournament Fairfield Warde got past Trumbull by a 41-37 score in the class LL opening round. Warde featured balanced scoring with Lejla Markovic scoring 11 points and Iliana Krasniqi and Sarah Cotto each scoring 10 points.
- Watertown was pushed all the way into double overtime in its opening-round match-up against Sacred Heart before ultimately winning the by a score of 49-46. Abby Collier did a little bit of everything for Watertown scoring 16 points, grabbing eight rebounds, four steals, three assists and three blocked shots and also had key baskets at the end of regulation and overtime to help collect the win.
- Three second-round games on Thursday night were decided by four points or fewer, with E.O. Smith getting pushed to overtime by NFA before coming away with a 55-51 win to advance to the third round. Also pulling out narrow victories were Amity, which claimed a three-point win over Daniel Hand, and Tolland which got past Kolbe Cathedral by three.
- The 8-seed vs. 9-seed game in class L proved to be the best game of the night on Friday with eight-seed Bristol Eastern getting past Watertown 53-46. Bristol Eastern led for nearly the entire game and got 18 points from Khadaijia Brooks to eventually put the game away.
- The semifinals in the SWC provided much of the excitement on Tuesday evening, highlighted by Bunnell knocking off Weston in overtime by a single point. A driving lay-up from Issac Vann as the buzzer sounded at the end of regulation sent the game into overtime where Vann would then continue to help the team capture the win.
- The first boys basketball league championship was decided on Tuesday night with Lewis Mills outlasting Northwestern 55-49 to earn the Berkshire League title. Alexander Daigle scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter to help seal the victory and cap a remarkable turnaround that saw the team earn the title after a six-win season a year ago.
- Fairfield Prep managed to hold off a late push from rival Hillhouse to capture the SCC championship and head into CIAC tournament competition without a loss. Thomas Nolan scored 15 points and earned tournament MVP honors as the Jesuits built a big early lead and then held on for a four-point win.
- Crosby continued its domination of the NVL Tournament winning its 10th title in 11 years by knocking off city rival Sacred Heart by nine points on Wednesday night. Lex Perez was the tournament MVP by scoring 21 points and helping Crosby turn a one-point halftime lead into the nine-point victory.
- East Windsor, Bunnell, Weaver and Bridgeport Central were the teams to come away with league titles on Friday, and all did so under different circumstances. Bridgeport Central earned an eight-point win over Greenwich in a high-scoring affair to capture a second-consecutive FCIAC crown. Similarly Bunnell had many of its pieces returning from its SWC title of last year, and made it two championships in a row with a 68-64 win over Kolbe Cathedral. Meanwhile Weaver battled past Maloney in a tight 59-57 contest to earn the team its first league crown in 14 years. East Windsor needed overtime and some great determination and defense to rally past Granby and capture the NCC title Thursday night.
- Capping championship week on Friday four teams earned their league tournament titles to take the momentum into the CIAC tournament. Cromwell battled past East Hampton behind 26 points from Josh Green to win the Shoreline title. Capital Prep repeated as the CSC champions as Levi Gillespie scored 31 points in the championship game win over Kaynor Tech. Terryville capped an unblemished season in the Berkshire League with an eight-point win over Lewis Mills in the tournament finale. And NFA got hot shooting from Marcus Outlaw to top Woodstock Academy in the final of the ECC Tournament.
- Fairfield Prep matched its boys basketball title by earning a 10th-straight SCC boys swimming championship. Three Jesuit swimmers won a pair of events to pace the team to a comfortable win over runner-up Cheshire.
- Northwestern left little doubt as to which is the top team in the Berkshire League this season as the team rolled to a victory by more than 170 points in the Berkshire League Championship. The team claimed victories in six events to earn the title over second-place Shepaug.
- Five hundred fifty-three points was earily enough to help Pomperaug earn the SWC championship over the weekend. Jimmy Davey paced the team with a pair of individual event wins while adding a leg as part of a meet-record relay to help his team capture the title.
- Sacred Heart showed no signs of letting go of the NVL championship as the team earned a fourth-straight crown by battling past Watertown. After losing the lead it held through most of the meet, Sacred Heart reclaimed the lead and held on to compile 569.5 points compared to 556 for Watertown. Connor Newton won a pair of events to lead the Sacred Heart squad to the title.
- It was championship week in the ice rinks across the state as well this past week with numerous league champions crowned. New Canaan made the most of an opportunity for a rematch with Darien and handed the Blue Wave a 5-2 setback to win the FCIAC Championship over the weekend. It was the 18th FCIAC title for New Canaan which got two goals and two assists from Jack O’Rourke in the final.
- The inaugural season of the SWC-SCC hockey finals produced a number of thrilling tournament games. Branford and Amity played a thriller in the DII SWC-SCC tournament with Jason Vitale scoring what proved to be the winning goal in a 4-3 victory. Branford went up 4-2 on Vitale’s goal midway through the third and though Amity would cut the lead to one Branford held on for the title. The battle of Notre Dames went to the squad from Fairfield as Notre Dame-Fairfield topped Notre Dame-West Haven in the final of the SWC-SCC DI tournament. Zac Bouve made 30 saves for Notre Dame-Fairfield as the team scored five times in the final two periods to overcome a pair of early deficits. The Division III final in the tournament provided the most dramatic game of the finals with New Fairfield-Immaculate finding its way past Newtown in overtime. Austin Murphy ended the hotly-contested outing with the game-winning goal at the 8:58 mark of overtime to earn the title.
- The CCC also crowned a pair of champions over the weekend with Bolton-Coventry-Rockville earning the CCC South title and East Catholic capturing the North championship. The Bolton co-op rallied from a two-goal deficit and reeled off five goals in the final 11 minutes to earn the championship. East Catholic got three first-period goals to seize the early momentum in the CCC North final and then got 30 saves from Tommy Usseglio to preserve the lead in a 5-3 victory.
No new rankings to watch this week as the rankings from last Monday were essentially the final set for the winter season. Rankings Watch will return once the spring sports get rolling in a few weeks.
CIAC On TV & The Web
A break from championship finals on the CIAC schedule means a break from live NFHS Network events, but keep an eye on the schedule (and on twitter) to see if any basketball or hockey tournament broadcasts are added to the schedule. There are also numerous previously aired finals that can be viewed On Demand on the network. CPTV Sports has many games on the schedule this week, starting on Monday with the premiere of last week’s Shoreline Conference boys basketball tournament final between Cromwell and East Hampton. Wednesday will feature the first airing of the 2014 Cheerleading Championships.