FCIAC Girls Basketball Season Wrap: Three league teams finish in GameTimeCT Top 10 poll

Notre Dame-Fairfield maintained its No. 1 ranking while three FCIAC teams – No. 4 Staples, seventh-ranked Trumbull and No. 9 Ridgefield – were ranked among the top nine in the GameTimeCT Top 10 Girls Basketball Poll which was released March 1 on the eve of state tournament play.

Three more FCIAC teams were in the “Others receiving votes” group as Greenwich (15-7) received the 21st most points, Danbury (16-5) the 22nd most and Norwalk (16-5) had the 25th most points in the voting.

All six of those conference teams played in the 2020 Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class LL Girls Basketball Tournament which commenced on March 2.

Top-seeded Staples and 13th-seeded Greenwich each won March 9 quarterfinal games and were still alive in the tournament when the CIAC canceled the remainder of the high school sports season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Staples and Greenwich each had 3-0 records in the tourney and were scheduled for a March 13 semifinal showdown against each other at a site to be determined.

Fifth-seeded Trumbull, which lost by a 41-33 margin to Greenwich in the quarterfinals, and defending champion Norwalk each had 2-1 records. The FCIAC had a combined 11-8 record as five conference teams lost in the Class LL first round and the conference’s combined record from all state class tournaments was 13-11.

That GameTimeCT Top 10 Girls Basketball Poll on March 1 was the final poll released. In previous years the New Haven Register would wait for the state tournaments to play out and conclude before conducting a final state poll.

Notre Dame-Fairfield (22-1) was the unanimous top choice in that last poll, receiving all 17 first-place votes, just as the Lancers had been in every poll since they seized the No. 1 spot from FCIAC member Norwalk in the Jan. 5 poll when ND-Fairfield was 4-0 and defending Class LL state champion Norwalk suffered its first loss to drop to 4-1.

The March 1 poll had Norwich Free Academy (19-4) ranked second and Newtown (19-4) third.

Staples (20-3) was ranked second in the previous poll but dropped to fourth after losing to Ridgefield, 50-46, in double overtime in the championship game of the 2019-20 FCIAC Girls Basketball Tournament.

Newtown and Daniel Hand, both with 18-4 records, were ranked fifth and sixth, respectively.

Trumbull (17-4) dropped one spot from sixth down to seventh as the Eagles were also beaten by Ridgefield in the FCIAC tournament, losing by a 41-38 margin in the semifinals.

New London (18-4) was ranked eighth.

Ridgefield (17-6) had not been ranked and was not even among the 26 teams statewide which received polling points in the Feb. 16 poll but the Tigers utilized their Cinderella run to the conference crown to vault all the way up to No. 9. Ridgefield’s Kate Wagner, selected to the 2019-20 All-FCIAC Second Team, scored three of her game-high 16 points late in the second overtime and was named MVP of the FCIAC tournament.

Bacon Academy (19-4), seventh in the previous poll, completed the Top 10.

The FCIAC has 10 teams among the field of 32 in the 2019-20 Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class LL Girls Basketball Tournament which began March 2.

Staples was seeded first, Trumbull fifth, Danbury sixth, Norwalk seventh, Stamford 10th, Greenwich 13th, Ridgefield 14th, Fairfield Ludlowe 18th, Darien 26th and Fairfield Warde was 27th.

Norwalk utilized a furious fourth-quarter rally to win last year’s Class LL championship with a 55-53 victory over New London at Mohegan Sun Arena on March 16, 2019. Naeva Rene scored the game-winning basket with 0:02 remaining in regulation.

Norwalk’s Bears overcame an 11-point deficit going into the fourth quarter and outscored New London 19-6 in the final quarter to snatch their first state championship since 2000 and finish with a perfect 28-0 record, including three victories to win the FCIAC championship just before going 5-0 in the state tourney.

The Class L tournament had Notre Dame-Fairfield as the top seed. The two FCIAC participants were 19th-seeded New Canaan and 20th-seeded Wilton.

The CIAC added a fifth state tournament this year – the Class MM tournament – and 14th-seeded St. Joseph was 1-1.

There were no conference teams in the Class M or Class S state tournaments.

Trinity Catholic, one of the two private Catholic schools in the FCIAC, was seeded seventh when Iyanna Lops had 26 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Crusaders to the 2018-19 CIAC Class S Girls Basketball Tournament title with a 52-45 victory over top-seeded Canton.

That was the fourth and final Class S state championship in school history because declining enrollment in recent years led to the announcement this winter that this is the final year of the school’s existence. The 2019-20 Crusaders finished 3-17 and did not qualify for the Class M tournament.

The Crusaders won the Class S championship in 2002 for the first state title in school history. They defended it the following year and won their third one in 2006.

Trinity Catholic won all four of the school’s FCIAC championships during a seven-year span from 2002-08 – beginning with the first one in 2002 and ending with three consecutive conference championships from 2006-08.

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