FCIAC basketball playoff races going down to the wire

With the respective girls basketball and boys basketball regular seasons near their end, the scramble is on for either securing those higher seeds or nabbing those final FCIAC tournament spots for the eight-team conference tournaments.

The final games of the regular season for the girls are this Wednesday and the quarterfinal round of the 2021-22 FCIAC Girls Basketball Tournament begins this Saturday at Staples High School.

The boys teams either have three or four games remaining in the regular season with the final games of the regular season scheduled for Feb. 23 and the conference tournament commencing Feb. 26 at Fairfield Warde High School.

Five girls teams have already clinched their FCIAC tournament spots.

Undefeated St. Joseph has secured the No. 1 seed with a 14-0 conference record going into Wednesday’s finale at home against Ridgefield.

Danbury (12-2), Fairfield Ludlowe (12-2), and defending FCIAC champion Ridgefield (11-3) clinched their conference playoff spots with victories late last week while Greenwich (9-5) clinched a playoff berth with a 63-51 home victory over Westhill this past Monday night.

Danbury’s Hatters improved to 12-2 with their 60-21 win at Bridgeport Central on Monday and they can secure the second seed with a Wednesday victory at Westhill because a 34-31 win on Dec. 22 at Fairfield Ludlowe now looms large in a potential tiebreaker scenario for that No. 2 seed.

Wilton and Stamford were both tied for sixth at 8-6, with Wilton’s Warriors owning the tiebreaker advantage via their 57-45 victory at Stamford on Jan. 25.

Wilton hosts Greenwich in a big game for both teams in that a victory by the Warriors can give them the No. 5 seed because that victory would also give them a win over a Greenwich team they are currently one game behind in the standings.

Norwalk, Staples, Trumbull and Warde all were tied for eighth place with 7-7 records going into Wednesday’s final games.

The quarterfinals of the 2021-22 FCIAC Girl Basketball Tournament begin with the No. 3 seed versus the No. 6 seed in a noon tipoff at Staples High. That is followed by No. 2 vs. No. 7 at 2 p.m., No. 4 vs. No. 5 at 5 p.m., and No. 1 St. Joseph vs. No. 8 at 7 p.m.

The semifinals at Trumbull High on Tuesday, Feb. 22, begin with a 6 o’clock game followed by the second game scheduled for 7:45 p.m. The highest remaining seed has the choice of game time. The girls championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m., Feb. 24, also at Trumbull.

The Feb. 26 quarterfinals of the boys conference tournament, at Warde, also have the same fomat of No. 3 vs. No. 6 at noon, No. 2 vs. No. 7 at 2 p.m., No. 4 vs. No. 5 at 5 p.m., and No. 1 vs. No. 8 at 7 p.m.

The March 1 semifinals at Wilton High have tipoff times of 6 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., with the March 3 championship at Wilton set for 7 p.m.

The Ridgefield boys team has a goal of winning a fourth consecutive FCIAC championship, which would be an unprecedented feat, and the Tigers are positioned well to snatch that top seed.

Ridgefield currently shares the FCIAC record of three consecutive conference crowns with Trinity Catholic, which accomplished that from 2003-05.

In the FCIAC boys standings through Monday, Feb. 14, Ridgefield is 11-0 while Westhill and Wilton are tied for second at 10-2. Those three have already clinched their conference playoff berths.

They are followed by Greenwich (8-3), St. Joseph (8-4), Staples (8-4), Fairfield Warde (7-4), and eighth-place Danbury (7-5).

Darien, Norwalk, and Stamford are all tied for ninth at 5-7.

In a pair of recent consequential games which will affect the higher seeds, Ridgefield’s Tigers put themselves in the driver’s seat toward grabbing that top seed with a most impressive 74-47 home victory over Wilton last Friday, and just this past Monday, Greenwich came through with a very big 53-49 home victory over Westhill.

Ridgefield’s Tigers may indeed be in a good spot for that No. 1 seed, but they have a challenging finishing stretch. For their next three games they host St. Joseph on Thursday, play at Greenwich on Saturday and then at Westhill on Feb. 21.

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