CIAC Tournament Update
The Connecticut state tournament started off with a bang on Monday night, as 31 out of the 32 teams that made the Class L tournament were in action, with #1 seed Northwest Catholic being the only team recieving a first round bye.
#25 Stratford, who earned a bid in L by navigating their way through the FCIAC with a 10-10 regular season, pulled off the first big upset of the night defeating #8 Middletown 66-57. Bernard Brantley, as he was throughout the season, was Stratford's catalyst and consistently broke down Middletown's defense all night long. Brantley finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds, five steal and four assists as Stratford advanced to play #9 Avon, a 74-71 OT winner over #26 East Lyme.
North Haven traveled to Bristol Eastern for a #20 vs. #13 matchup which saw Billy McDonald (17) and Dominic Schiappo (23) combined for 40 points in North Haven's 55-53 victory. They will travel to #4 Farmington -who defeated #29 Lyman Hall 54-43- for a Battle of the Indians in the second round. Farmington will be without the services of Amherst-bound big man Ben Pollack who fractured his fibula during the CCC Tournament. Farmington will look to Obi Momah to limit the ever dangerous McDonald, a tall task for the 6'5" sophomore.
Any team coming out of the lower half of the "L" bracket will have to earn their championship appearance. The way things shaked out, #2 Career, #3 Wilby, #6 Bassick, #7 Trinity Catholic, #11 Maloney and #18 Wilbur Cross -all consumate state title contenders- will have to go through one another in order to get a crack at whoever runs through the upper bracket, which looks like #1 Northwest Catholic's to lose.
Trinity Catholic kicked off their tournament run in style, pounding #26 Fairfield Ludlowe 69-43 behind Jason Boswell's 20-point performance on his home court. They will have to face another FCIAC foe in #23 Wilton in the second round, a team that surprised #10 University-Hartford squad with a 70-63 win.
#11 Maloney will travel to Bridgeport to face #6 Bassick after each secured easy first round wins, while #3 Wilby will host #14 East Catholic after each easily avoided being upset in the opening round. #2 Career-New Haven moved on and will face #18 Wilbur Cross in a game that will not lack in athleticism and fast-paced action.
While nothing in high school sports is very predictable, it certainly looks like a 4-horse race in the Class S bracket. #1 Immaculate, #2 Kolbe Cathedral, #3 Capital Prep and #4 Classical each recieved 1st Round byes and have a great chance to advance to play one another at some point, with #7 St. Paul as the only real threat to ruin their plans.
St. Paul is battle tested as one of the smaller teams in the NVL and overwhelmed #26 St. Bernard with a 90-46 opening round win. Their goal is to take on Kolbe in what should be a very high-scoring game at the end of the week.