FCIAC’s winter teams captured 12 CIAC championships

The Trinity Catholic boys basketball team, Ridgefield boys ice hockey team, and Greenwich boys swimming and diving team won state championships on March 18 to highlight the success of the FCIAC at the state tournaments or state championship meets conducted by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference for the 2016-17 winter sports season.

The conference collected 12 state championships this winter.

The FCIAC had a .500 winning percentage with a 32-32 combined record in the three sports formatted toward teams playing games against each other – boys basketball, girls basketball and boys ice hockey.

In the sports of girls gymnastics, wrestling, boys swimming and diving, boys indoor track and field, and girls indoor track and field in which the formats were championship meets, there were eight team titles won in state championship class meets or State Open meets.

The Greenwich boys swimming and diving team actually won a pair of state titles as the Cardinals previously won the CIAC Class LL boys swimming and diving championships.

Similar to the double state crown success of Greenwich’s boys swimming and diving team, the Danbury boys indoor track and field team and Danbury wrestling team also followed up on their Class LL championships with State Open titles. State class championships were also previously won by the Greenwich girls gymnastics team (Class L) and the Danbury girls indoor track and field team (Class LL).

The Danbury Hatters’ cheerleaders were also double champs, winning both the CIAC Class LL and State Open titles, after grabbing the FCIAC crown.

The Trinity Catholic boys basketball team gave veteran coach Mike Walsh his seventh state championship when Dimitry Moise had 20 points and six rebounds while Dutreil Contavio scored 13 points and snatched 13 rebounds to lead the sixth-seeded Crusaders to a 61-52 victory over top-seeded Westbrook in the CIAC Class S Boys Basketball Tournament championship game at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Trinity Catholic previously won the 1996 Class M state championship, the 1999 Class L title, two more Class M state championships in 2001 and ’03, the Division I state title in 2004, and another Class M state title in 2011.

Trinity Catholic’s 5-0 record in this season’s Class S state tourney was the primary reason the FCIAC had a winning record (13-10) in the three combined boys basketball tournaments.

Wilton went 3-1 in the Class L tourney as the sixth-seeded Warriors were eliminated in the semifinals, 81-61, by second-seeded Notre Dame-Fairfield.

The nine teams in the Class LL boys basketball tournament had a combined 5-9 record as five of them were eliminated in the first round while 17th-seeded Danbury made the deepest run with two victories, including a 70-64 victory over top-seeded Notre Dame-West Haven, before they were eliminated by eighth-seeded Kennedy in the quarterfinals.

Trinity Catholic’s Class S crown enabled the 20-6 Crusaders to climb up and grab the 10th and final spot in the Final 2016-17 Game-TimeCT/Register Boys Basketball Top 10.

Hillhouse seized the No. 1 ranking via its convincing 78-58 victory over East Hartford in the Class LL championship and the 28-1 Academics were followed by undefeated and Class L state champion Sacred Heart (28-0), East Catholic (26-2), East Hartford (23-4), Weaver (23-4), Notre Dame-West Haven (23-2), Notre Dame-Fairfield (25-3), Brookfield (19-7) and Middletown (22-4).

Trinity Catholic ended up being the only FCIAC team in the Top 10 as Wilton (20-7), (Trumbull (20-4), and Danbury (16-9) were in the “Others receiving votes” category. Wilton received the 12th most polling points, Trumbull the 20th most points and Danbury the 23rd most from the voters in the media.

Ridgefield displayed its potent offense throughout the CIAC Division I Boys Ice Hockey Tournament, culminating with the second-seeded Tigers cruising to a convincing 6-2 victory over top-seeded Northwest Catholic in the Division I championship game at Yale University’s Ingalls Rink.

Matteo van Wees had two goals and an assist, Nick Cullinan and Jack Stafford each had a goal and two assists, Jeff Pracella and Will Forrest each had a goal and an assist, and those five also contributed to Ridgefield having a pivotal 40-24 advantage in faceoffs won.

Ridgefield was dominant in the tournament as the Tigers had a 4-0 record and outscored their opposition by a 19-7 margin to finish 24-2.

They opened up with a 4-1 victory over 15th-seeded Darien, they won a 4-3 overtime thriller over No. 7 Fairfield Prep in the quarterfinals, and then advanced to the championship with a 5-1 semifinal victory over No. 6 West Haven.

In the highest-division tournament which historically has been won mostly by private schools, Ridgefield’s title represents the third consecutive year a public school from the FCIAC won the Division I championship. Darien won it two years ago and then defended its title last year.

Prior to that, the last time a conference team won the Division I championship was when Trinity Catholic defeated New Canaan, 3-1, in the 1998 final. It was Ridgefield’s first-ever Division I title. The 2002 Tigers won the Division II state championship.

The FCIAC had a combined 7-10 overall record in the three boys ice hockey state tournaments. The conference was 6-5 in the Division I tourney and a combined 1-5 in the Division II and Division III tournaments.

Ridgefield was the unanimous pick, receiving all 16 first-place votes, as the No. 1 team in the Final 2016-17 GameTimeCT/Register Boys Ice Hockey Top 10. The Tigers previously won the FCIAC championship this season. Northwest Catholic (21-4-1) was second and New Canaan (19-5-1) was third as the only other FCIAC team in the Top 10.

Fairfield Prep (12-10) was fourth and followed by West Haven (16-7), Hamden (14-9), Xavier (14-7-1), Notre Dame-West Haven (12-9-1), Guilford (21-5) and Woodstock Academy (22-2-1). Greenwich (9-11-1) was the only FCIAC team in the “Others receiving votes” category.

The FCIAC had a combined 12-12 record in two girls basketball tournaments as 11 conference teams combined for an 11-11 record in the CIAC Class LL Girls Basketball Tournament.

Trumbull made the deepest run in the Class LL tournament, all the way to the championship game where the top-seeded Eagles lost, 42-36, to No. 3 New London. The Eagles went 4-1 in the tourney and advanced to the championship with a 45-38 overtime victory over No. 5 Mercy.

New London finished 26-2 and received all 15 first-place votes to earn the top ranking in the Final 2016-17 GameTimeCT/Register Girls Basketball Top 10. Class L state champion Daniel Hand (24-4) was second.

Trumbull (26-2), the FCIAC champion, was No. 3 and the only conference team in the Top 10.

Class L runner-up Holy Cross (25-2) was ranked fourth and trailed in the Top 10 by Capital Prep (21-6), Mercy (23-4), New Fairfield (24-4), Enfield (26-2), Norwich Free Academy (20-6) and Bacon Academy (20-7).

Stamford (20-6) received the 11th most points in the polling as the first team listed in the “Others receiving votes” and Fairfield Warde (16-6) was the only other FCIAC team in that category, having received the 21st most points.

The Ridgefield Tigers pile onto the ice after the final horn sounded on their FCIAC boys hockey championship in March at Terry Connors Rink. — Dave Stewart/HAN Network photo

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