FCIAC teams ranked in top 10 of final girls and boys basketball polls for 2021-22

Wilton High School’s girls and boys basketball teams and St. Joseph’s girls basketball team were the FCIAC teams which were ranked in the Top 10 of their respective final GameTimeCT state polls.

St. Joseph was ranked No. 5 and Wilton was No. 8 in the Final 2022 GameTimeCT Girls Basketball Top 10 Poll.

Notre Dame-Fairfield received six of the 18 first-place votes to earn the top spot in the final girls Top 10. The first-place votes were scattered about among the top four teams who all won state championships in their class tournaments.

Notre Dame-Fairfield defeated Newington, 60-45, in the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class L Girls Basketball Tournament championship game to finish with a 23-2 record.

The top-ranked ND-Fairfield Lancers received 502 polling points to finish 18 points ahead of No. 2 East Hartford, which finished 25-2 and received four first-place votes and 484 polling points after winning the state Class LL championship with a 54-33 victory over Wilton.

East Hartford’s second-ranked Hornets were led by the fantastic Shailyn Pinkney, the Seton Hall-bound senior who scored 26 points against Wilton in the Class LL championship and last May was selected the 2020-21 Gatorade Connecticut Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

Sacred Heart Academy (25-1), which withstood a big second-half rally by St. Joseph to win a 52-50 thriller in the Class MM final, was ranked No. 3. The Sharks received three first-place votes and 480 polling points which were just six more points than No. 4 Holy Cross, which got five first-place votes and 474 polling points. The fourth-ranked Crusaders capped off their undefeated 27-0 season with a 61-38 victory over Bacon Academy in the Class M championship game.

Top-ranked Notre Dame-Fairfield and No. 4 Holy Cross were tied for No. 1 in the previous poll which was released March 1 before the state tournaments began.

St. Joseph, which was ranked sixth in that previous March 1 poll, moved up to No. 5 in the final poll after going 3-1 in the state Class MM tournament to finish 24-3.

St. Joseph’s Cadets, the FCIAC champions, certainly displayed their mettle in the state Class MM final against Sacred Heart Academy. Coach Chris Lindwall’s Cadets faced a 16-point deficit with 5:38 remaining in the third quarter and they rallied back during the next 11 minutes to tie it up at 48-48 before SHA outscored them 4-2 down the stretch.

Newington (25-3) was ranked sixth and Daniel Hand (22-5) was No. 7.

There were 25 teams statewide which received votes in the previous poll – the Top 10 and another 15 in the “others receiving votes” category – and the Wilton girls team was not among those 25 teams.

But coach Keishaun Macklin’s Warriors entered the Class LL state tournament as the 12th seed and made their memorable run to the championship game with four victories, including an impressive 48-37 semifinal victory over top-seeded Enfield. Consequently, Wilton (17-9) ascended to No. 8 in the final poll.

New London (22-4) and Class S state champion Thomaston (23-4) completed the Top 10.

Fairfield Ludlowe (18-5) received the 16th most polling points and Ridgefield (16-6) got the 23rd most as they were the two FCIAC teams among the 15 total in the “others receiving votes” category.

In contrast to the girls poll in which the top four teams all received at least three first-place votes, undefeated Bristol Central (28-0) was the unanimous choice for No. 1 with all 19 first-place votes in the Final 2022 GameTimeCT Boys Basketball Top 10 Poll.

Bristol Central’s Rams, who were was seeded first in the CIAC Division II Boys Basketball Tournament, won a 54-52 overtime thriller in the semifinals against fourth-seeded Wilton before they cruised to a 56-36 victory over second-seeded Northwest Catholic in the final.

The Rams received dominant performances in the last two games from UConn-bound 7-foot-2 senior Donovan Clingan, who racked up a combined   55 points and 44 rebounds in those last two games. Clingan scored 30 of Bristol Central’s 54 points and snatched 20 rebounds in that 54-52 semifinal OT win over Wilton and he had 25 points and 24 boards in the championship.

East Catholic won the state Division I tournament with a 50-49 victory over Notre Dame-West Haven in the final and that enabled the 20-6 Eagles to surge all the way up to No. 2 after having been ranked ninth in the previous poll.

Northwest Catholic (25-3) and ND-West Haven (25-2) were tied for second in that previous poll and they finished ranked third and fourth, respectively.

The teams which finished 5-9 were Division III state champion Daniel Hand (23-4), Windsor (20-5), seventh-ranked Fairfield Prep (22-4), Division IV state champion Bloomfield (21-5), and Kolbe Cathedral (22-4)

Wilton (21-5) was ranked 10th as the only FCIAC team in the Top 10. Thomas McKiernan drained a dramatic 3-pointer with 0:13 remaining in regulation to give coach Joel Geriak’s fourth-seeded Wilton Warriors a 63-62 victory over fifth-seeded Holy Cross in the Division II quarterfinals.

Ridgefield, which achieved the unprecedented feat of winning a fourth consecutive FCIAC championship, received the 11th most polling points and was the only conference team among the dozen in the “others receiving votes” category.

Coach Andrew McClellan’s Ridgefield Tigers, who won their fourth straight FCIAC championship with a 46-40 victory over Wilton, finished 22-3. They were eliminated in the Division I quarterfinals by Windsor, 62-58.

Windham, which won the Division V state championship to finish 21-7, received the 13th most polling points.

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