FCIAC girls basketball playoff race nears finish line

The girls’ high school basketball regular season is now in its homestretch and things are starting to clear up regarding the FCIAC playoff picture.

Staples has been sizzling hot for the last few weeks and just as the Wreckers have been consistently surging higher up in the state poll they have put themselves in a good position to grab the top seed in the 2019-20 FCIAC Girls Basketball Tournament which begins Feb. 22.

The Wreckers won their seventh straight game with a 44-32 home victory over Ridgefield to improve to 12-1 in the FCIAC. They have outscored those last seven opponents by an average of about 20 points per games as they have averaged 61.9 points on offense and limited their opponents to an average of just 42.1 points.

Their last loss occurred at home on Jan. 17 by a 44-40 margin to Trumbull, which just so happens to sit just one game behind the Wreckers as Trumbull’s Eagles improved to 11-2 in the conference Monday with their 53-40 victory at Fairfield Warde.

If Trumbull’s Eagles can win out and Staples happens to get upset in one of its three remaining games, then the Eagles would swipe the top seed because of their victory at Staples.

Most conference teams had three games remaining in the regular season as of Monday, Feb. 10.

All five of the top conference teams won their respective Monday games.

Danbury and Norwalk are tied for third place at 10-3. Danbury’s Hatters won a 52-51 overtime thriller at home over Norwalk last Thursday (Feb. 6) to earn themselves the tiebreaker advantage for the higher seed between the two teams should they finish with identical records.

Greenwich had a pivotal showdown for both teams at Wilton on Monday and Greenwich nipped the host team, 56-55, to improve to 10-4 and leapfrog over Stamford into fifth place.

Stamford dropped down to sixth place after losing Monday at Norwalk, 61-33.

And there are several more teams who have hopes of snatching some of the last few of the eight total playoff spots in the conference tournament.

St. Joseph was in seventh place at 8-6 as of Feb. 10.

Fairfield Ludlowe, Ridgefield and Wilton were in a three-way tie for eighth at 7-6 and they were followed by Darien (6-7), New Canaan (6-8) and Fairfield Warde (5-8).

Darien and New Canaan are examples of the conference’s depth and balance this season because they were the two teams which dealt second-place Trumbull its only two conference losses.

Staples and Trumbull are the two FCIAC teams in the latest GameTimeCT Top 10 Girls Basketball Poll which was released Feb. 9.

Notre Dame-Fairfield won three games to improve to 15-1 and maintain its No. 1 ranking. The Lancers were the unanimous choice, having received all 17 first-place votes.

Staples (14-2 overall as of Feb. 9), moved up to No. 2, having moved up one spot from being No. 3 last week. The Wreckers were ranked eighth in the state at the beginning of their seven-game winning streak. A week later they moved up three spots to No. 5 in the poll which was released Jan. 26, and now they have moved up one more spot in each of the most recent two polls.

Newtown (13-3) ascended to No. 3 from being fourth in the previous poll and was followed by Norwich Free Academy (15-3), Newington (15-2) and New London (15-3).

Trumbull utilized a pair of victories to improve to 13-3 and move up one spot to No. 7.

Southington (15-2) is ranked eighth while Daniel Hand (15-3) and Berlin (14-2) share the ninth ranking.

There were four FCIAC teams in the previous Top 10 but recent losses have caused Norwalk (12-4) and Stamford (13-3) to drop out of the Top 10 as Norwalk received the 11th most polling points and Stamford the 14th most points.

The 2019-20 FCIAC Girls Basketball Tournament will tip off at noon on Feb. 22 with the No. 3 seed playing the No. 6 seed in the first of four quarterfinal games at Staples High School.

The Feb. 25 semifinals (6 and 7:45 p.m.) and Feb. 27 championship game (7 p.m.) will take place at Trumbull High School.

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