The Eye On The CIAC has clearly turned its gaze on the postseason as tournament play began in girls basketball and league tournaments abound in the other winter sports. There was plenty of action to check out, including brief recaps of the opening rounds of the girls tournaments.
- In class L Tolland gets past Lyman Hall 47-41 in the tightest opening round game. The biggest upset by seed in the first round came with 26-seed Bristol Central handling Avon by a 52-26 score. In the second round third-seed Berlin had a tough battle in L with Bristol Eastern extending them to overtime, before the higher seed prevailed by five points. Five of the eight quarterfinal spots in Class L have been earned by top-8 seeds.
- Upsets abound in Class S with five 20-plus seeds earning wins in the first round. The biggest with 26-seed Windsor Locks knocking off seventh-seed Platt Tech. In a defensive struggle, St. Bernard battled past East Hampton 28-25 in the closest game of the opening round. In the second round in in Class S twenty-four seed Valley Regional has reached the quarterfinals, winning its two games by an average of 27.5 points. Twenty-second seed Hyde Leadership pulled out a five-point win over six-seed Somers to also reach the quarterfinals. The S tournament has three double-digit seeds in the quarterfinals, and the other three quarterfinal spots belong to top-five seeds.
- The opening round of the Class LL Tournament went mostly to form with only a pair of higher seeds pulling off upsets. The 18 and 19 seeds (East Hartford and Fairfield Ludlowe) both earned first-round wins, with East Hartford’s five-point win over Amity registering as the closest contest of the first night. Through the second round it has been nearly all chalk in LL with seven out of eight quarterfinal berths going to the top-eight seeds (with the only exception being nine-seed E.O. Smith). Second-seed Lauralton Hall had the toughest battle in the second round before getting past East Hartford by seven points.
- The upset bug completely avoided Class M in the opening round as the higher seeded teams posted a perfect 16-0 mark. Fourteenth-seeded Northwestern escaped against 19th-seed Immaculate 45-42 to avoid the upset while number-20 seed Sheehan gave 13-seed Ellington a run before falling by a four-point margin. In the second round 12-seed Weaver and 11-seed Ansonia crashed the quarterfinal party by upsetting five-seed Granby Memorial and six-seed Lewis Mills respectively. The top four seeds are all still alive into the quarterfinal round. Montville and Trinity Catholic played a thriller in round two, with seventh-seed Montville prevailing by three in overtime.
- In a game worthy of a league championship, Raiquan Clark earned Tournament MVP honors as Hillhouse rallied in the fourth quarter to knock off Fairfield Prep in overtime to win the SCC boys basketball title. The win avenged the only loss of the year for Hillhouse which came against Fairfield Prep earlier in the season.
- A twenty-four point, eight assist performance from Tyler Ancrum helped Bristol Central capture the FCIAC boys basketball tournament. Thirteen of Ancrum’s 24 points came in the fourth quarter.
- Kahlil Dukes earned Capital Prep a victory in the CSC Championship game with a game-winning jumper with less than three seconds remaining in regulation.
- The NCCC went to Avon as the team cruised to the title after a thrilling triple-overtime win over Enfield in the semi-final. That game did not fatigue the champions as they jumped out to an early lead and never trailed.
- Bunnell completed an unbeaten season in SWC play with a 10-point victory over Bethel to capture the league tournament title.
- Six was the magic number for New London as the Whalers handled Norwich Free Academy by 12 to capture a sixth-straight ECC title. A 24-point, 17-rebound effort from MVP Keith Porter helped his team claim the tourney title.
- Middletown secured a CCC South title on the strength of a win over the Bristol coop early in the week in a battle between the top two teams in the Division. The Bristol squad then rebounded with a 90-86 win over Plainville the following day.
- Greenwich boys swimming continued its run of success in the FCIAC. That is now six in a row and 42 of 43 titles at the FCIAC boys swimming championship.
- Pomperaug reclaimed a title that had been theirs for five-consecutive years prior to last season, as it won the South-West Conference boys swimming championship. It was a sixth title in seven years for the Panthers, while runner-up Brookfield’s Matt Moen was selected as Most Outstanding Swimmer.
- The ECC boys swimming title went to East Lyme as the Vikings claimed a sixth-straight league crown. Adam Opsahl was the standout for the victors as he won two individual events and swam as part of two record-setting victorious relays. Individually, Christian Berg broke a pair of records while winning two events for Fitch.
- Bryce Keblish and Bjorn Davis both had three first-place finishes to help propel Fairfield Prep to the SCC boys swimming title. The Jesuits captured the title with a nearly 700-point margin over second-place Amity.
- Local rivals Daniel Hand and Branford squared off in the SCC D-II championship game, and the third time was the charm for Hand which claimed a 4-2 win after falling to their rivals twice during the regular season.
After a thrilling overtime win over Darien in the semi-finals, Ridgefield edged St. Joseph 5-4 to claim the FCIAC boys hockey tournament title. It was the second-straight FCIAC title for Ridgefield, and came despite a hat trick from St. Joseph standout Christian Keator.
- The stellar season continued for Fairfield Prep hockey as the team earned a SCC Division I title with a 6-2 win over Notre Dame-West Haven. Fairfield Prep will enter the CIAC tournament with a 20-1 record after tournament MVP Dean Lockery scored two goals to help the team claim the win.
Each Monday we take a look at any major movement in the top-10 of the CIAC Tournament Rankings for those sports where it is provided. No girls basketball or gymnastics this week, with gymnastics having completed the season and the girls basketball tournament underway.
- The biggest movement came in boys hockey, where the shifting in the final week did impact the brackets. Most notably in Division III where there was only one shift as Housatonic-Northwestern-Wamogo jumped up into ninth, and a loss for Shepaug-Litchfield-Nonnewaug left it below .400. In Division II, East Catholic vaulted from sixth to second, pushing down the remaining teams in the top-5, while Brookfield-Bethel-Danbury and Watertown-Pomperaug also switched spots. Northwest Catholic also jumped into the top-10 at number seven, as Daniel Hand fell from seventh to 10th. The bottom part of Division I also saw a slight shift with Hamden moving from outside the top-10 into eighth, knocking Notre Dame-Fairfield to 10th. Glastonbury then moved up one spot to ninth.
- In boys basketball, the rankings are nearly identical with only a minor shift in Class S that altered the pairings. Coventry and Old Lyme swapped spots with Old Lyme moving up one to fifth and Coventry dropping to sixth. That was the only change in the four classifications as the pairings were released last Wednesday.
There will be basketball aplenty for high school fans this week along with hockey and other high school action to catch on CPTV Sports. Among the games will be broadcasts of boys basketball tournament contests on Thursday and Friday evenings.