East Catholic and Notre Dame-West Haven are ranked 1-2 again, while fourth-ranked Danbury and No.9 Ridgefield are the two FCIAC teams in the latest GameTimeCT Top 10 Boys Basketball Poll voted on just before the state tournaments.
Due to Danbury winning the 2023 FCIAC Boys Basketball Tournament and four-time defending conference champion Ridgefield having been eliminated in the semifinals of that tournament, Danbury’s Hatters jumped up four spots while Ridgefield fell five spots from the previous poll.
East Catholic’s Eagles, the defending Division I state champion, improved to 23-1 with a 78-64 victory over Bloomfield in the Central Connecticut Conference Boys Basketball Tournament final and they received 18 of the 19 first-place votes.
Notre Dame-West Haven’s Green Knights defended their Southern Connecticut Conference championship with a 74-61 victory over Hillhouse to improve to 21-2 and they got the other first-place vote.
East Catholic, which was seeded eighth, nipped second-seeded ND-West Haven, 50-49, in last year’s championship game of the 2022 Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Division I Boys Basketball Tournament at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Kolbe Cathedral is ranked No. 3 in the current poll which was released March 6. The Cougars also became conference champions as they won their South West Conference title and improved to 21-2 with a 68-45 victory over Notre Dame-Fairfield.
Danbury made the big leap from No. 8 last week to No. 4 with three victories in the FCIAC tournament, culminating with a 69-53 victory over Staples in the championship game.
Northwest Catholic (18-3), Bloomfield (20-3), Notre Dame-Fairfield (20-3) and St. Bernard are ranked 4-8.
Ridgefield dropped down to No. 9 from No. 4 in the previous poll. The Tigers have the FCIAC record for most consecutive conference championships with the four straight they won from 2019-22 but they were denied the opportunity to extend that record when they were beaten by Staples, 71-54, in the FCIAC semifinals. Ridgefield took a 16-game winning streak into that game and lost for the first time since its 61-54 home loss to Staples on Jan. 6.
Waterbury Career Academy (20-3) completed the Top 10.
There were four FCIAC teams among the top 20 in terms of receiving polling points. Staples (17-6) got the 17th most points and Fairfield Warde (17-4) got the 20th most as the two conference teams among the 17 total in the “Also receiving votes” category.
Top-ranked East Catholic, No. 2 Notre Dame-West Haven, No. 3 Kolbe Cathedral, No. 4 Danbury, No. 5 Northwest Catholic, No. 7 Notre Dame-Fairfield, and No. 9 Ridgefield were seven of the 16 teams in the Division I state tournament, and all 16 of them played their first state tourney games March 8.
Ridgefield is seeded fourth, Danbury is seeded fifth, and they both won their opening games Wednesday night by comfortable margins on their home courts to set up a rubber match against each other in Friday night’s quarterfinals at Ridgefield High School (7 p.m.).
Ridgefield is the host team Friday by virtue of being seeded higher. Ridgefield opened state tourney play with a 58-40 victory over 13th-seeded Naugatuck while Danbury advanced to the quarterfinals with a 67-47 victory over 12th-seeded Norwich Free Academy in those March 8 openers.
Ridgefield, which improved to 20-3 overall Wednesday, and Danbury (22-2) each had a two-point victory over each other during this past regular season. Danbury won the first game, 67-65, on Dec. 16 at Danbury War Memorial. Ridgefield avenged that loss with a 47-45 victory in the Bob DiNardo Memorial Classic on Jan. 28 at Western Connecticut State University.
Top-ranked East Catholic, No. 2 Notre Dame-West Haven, No. 5 Northwest Catholic, and No. 7 Notre Dame-Fairfield all had very convincing victories in Wednesday’s Division I state tournament openers.