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FCIAC teams winning at .565 clip in CIAC boys hoops; Central plays for LL title Saturday

The FCIAC has had an impressive showing in the 2014 Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class LL Boys Basketball Tournament.

Bridgeport Central, which has already won the FCIAC championship, will try to add on a state championship at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena against undefeated and top-seeded Fairfield Prep (24-0).

Bridgeport Central’s fourth-seeded Hilltoppers have won their four preceding games in the CIAC Class LL Tournament to improve to 26-1 this year.

Central was one of two FCIAC teams that advanced to the semifinal round and there were three conference teams in the quarterfinals. There were 11 FCIAC teams among the 33 teams in the Class LL field.

The FCIAC has a combined 13-10 record for a .565 winning percentage going into Saturday night’s final.

There were four games in which FCIAC teams squared off against each other. If one subtracts the 4-4 combined record the conference had in games pitting FCIAC teams against each other, the FCIAC had a 9-6 record in games against non-conference foes for a .600 winning percentage.

Fourth-seeded Greenwich joined Central as the other FCIAC team in the semifinals and 10th-seeded Ridgefield was among the three conference teams in the quarterfinals. Greenwich had a 3-1 record in the tournament and Ridgefield was 2-1.

Fairfield Prep defeated Greenwich, 59-51, in the March 19 semifinals. Greenwich advanced to the semifinals with a 59-54 at home over fifth-seeded New Britain. The Cardinals opened with a 49-40 victory over 29th-seeded Shelton. They survived an upset scare in the second round by 20th-seeded and fellow FCIAC member Wilton before pulling out a 67-61 overtime victory.

Greenwich finished with a 23-4 overall record this year, including a 53-45 regular-season loss at Bridgeport Central.

Ridgefield opened state tournament play with a 53-39 home victory over 23rd-seeded West Haven and then cruised to an impressive 53-33 victory at seventh-seeded New London before the Tigers were eliminated with a 78-68 loss at Bridgeport Central on March 17 in the quarterfinals.

Ridgefield, beaten in the FCIAC semifinals by Greenwich, 65-54, finished with 19-6 overall record.

Ridgefield’s victory at New London was one of three instances in which a team from the FCIAC defeated a non-conference team that was seeded higher.

Brien McMahon, seeded 21st, and 20th-seeded Wilton both defeated higher-seeded teams in the first round before being eliminated in the second round.

McMahon knocked off 12th-seeded Simsbury, 72-61, in its opener before the Senators lost by a respectable 83-74 margin at fifth-seeded New Britain.

Wilton stunned the home fans when the Warriors won in double overtime at 13th-seeded Hartford Public, 62-61. The Warriors then lost the aforementioned overtime thriller at Greenwich.

Stamford, seeded 14th, and 25th-seeded Warren Harding also went 1-1 in the state tourney. Harding upset fellow FCIAC member and eighth-seeded Westhill, 66-61, in the first round. The Presidents were then eliminated at ninth-seeded Hillhouse, 77-47.

Stamford opened with a 64-49 home victory over 19th-seeded Glastonbury and then lost at third-seeded Crosby, 64-47.

Norwalk, Danbury and Trumbull, FCIAC teams that were seeded 27th, 28th and 29th, respectively, all lost their openers.

Bridgeport Central is listed with a 23-1 record on the official Class LL bracket. That includes the four state tournament wins added to the Hilltoppers’ 19-1 record in the regular season and it does not include their three victories in the FCIAC tournament, which makes them 26-1 overall.

Central defeated Greenwich, 80-72, in the FCIAC championship game on March 6.

The Hilltoppers then rolled into the Class LL semifinals with state tournament victories of 105-78 over Trumbull, 90-42 over Norwich Free Academy and 78-68 over Ridgefield.

Sha’Quan Bretoux fired in 24 points and Tyler Ancrum scored 18 points to lead Central to the Class LL championship game with a 67-55 semifinal victory over sixth-seeded Ledyard.

The Hilltoppers will take a 15-game winning streak into Saturday night’s final. They won their first 11 games this season before losing in overtime at Westhill, 78-75, on Jan. 31.

The conference also had three of the 32 teams in the CIAC Class L Boys Basketball Tournament.

Darien, seeded 26th, cruised to an impressive 71-56 victory at seventh-seeded Guilford before losing in the second round.

St. Joseph, seeded 24th, and 29th-seeded Trinity Catholic both lost in the first round. Trinity Catholic lost last year’s Class L final to Woodstock Academy, 52-49.

St. Joseph won the 2012 Class LL championship with a 62-54 victory over Hillhouse.

Bridgeport Central will try to win its second Class LL championship in the last five years and third Class LL crown in the last 12 years under veteran coach Barry McLeod.

McLeod’s Hilltoppers defeated Notre Dame-West Haven, 58-56, in the 2003 Class LL championship game. Central won its 2010 Class LL title with a 78-66 victory over Hillhouse.

Central won five games en route to the 2010 championship, did not qualify the next year, lost its opener in 2012 and went 2-1 in last year’s tourney. So McLeod has guided his Hilltoppers to a combined 11-2 record in four state tournaments during the last five years.

The Hilltoppers will try to win their fourth overall Class LL championship as they won their first one when they nipped Wilbur Cross, 70-69, in 1975.

The Bridgeport Central Hilltoppers hope to replay this scene when they face Fairfield Prep for the Class LL basketball championship at 8:15, Saturday, at Mohegan Sun Arena. (Patrick Tewey/MSG Varsity Photo)

The Bridgeport Central Hilltoppers hope to replay this scene when they face Fairfield Prep for the Class LL basketball championship at 8:15, Saturday, at Mohegan Sun Arena. (Patrick Tewey/MSG Varsity Photo)

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