The regular season has come to a close and it is now time to crown state champions. The CIAC released the brackets for the state tournaments on Friday and there is plenty of local flavor in them.
Three area teams finished with a record of 15-5, which was the best of the local teams, and two of them might be on a collision course in Class LL.
New Britain and Southington were two of the teams to go 15-5 this season and they earned the eighth and ninth seeds respectively. The Hurricanes had the tiebreaker via a head-to-head victory over the Blue Knights during the regular season.
New Britain’s first-round opponent will be Fairfield Ludlowe, who earned the 25th seed with its 10-10 mark on the season.
Southington’s first-round opponent will be West Haven, who also finished the season with a 10-10 record earning the 24th seed.
If both Southington and New Britain take care of business in their first-round matchups at home Tuesday afternoon, they would meet up in the second round one day later at New Britain. The Hurricanes defeated the Blue Knights 7-5 back in April but both teams won their last five regular season games so it will make for an intriguing matchup should it happen.
Elsewhere in Class LL is Newington, who will also open up the tournament at home. The Indians finished the regular season with a 12-8 record which was good enough to get them the No. 16 seed. They will play host to 17th-seeded Hamden on Tuesday. The Green Dragons also finished the regular season with a 12-8 record but lost a lottery to Newington and therefore will be on the road in round one.
Newington has a chance to meet up with either Southington or New Britain in the quarterfinals but it will be tough. If the Indians top Hamden in the first round they will then have to beat top-seeded Amity, the team that has won the last four state titles, to get to the quarterfinals so it won’t be easy.
Over in Class L is Berlin which finished the season with a 12-8 record and earned the 17th seed. The Redcoats will be taking on East Haven in the first round. The Yellow Jackets also finished the regular season 12-8 but unlike Newington, Berlin lost the lottery to East Haven and will now have to travel for its first game of the postseason.
If the Redcoats are able to win on the road the strong likelihood is that they will take on top seed East Lyme who lost just two games throughout the regular season. Berlin though, did win its final five games in the regular season and like many of the other local teams, enter the tournament feeling good.
Class M is where we find the final local team to qualify for the state tournament and that is Goodwin Tech. The Gladiators had an excellent regular season where they went 15-5 and that earned them the sixth seed.
Goodwin Tech will be facing a familiar opponent in its first-round game as it will take on conference foe Vinal Tech. The teams met twice this season with Goodwin Tech winning both and outscoring Vinal Tech 35-8 across the two games.
If the Gladiators take care of business they will host a second-round matchup against the winner of the No. 11 vs. No. 22 matchup between Rockville and Stonington.
Also of note in the Class M bracket is a team that did not qualify and that is Plainville. The Blue Devils failed to qualify for the state tournament for the first time since at least 1981, according to the CIAC.
Plainville finished the regular season 7-13 which means it needed just one more win to get in. The team ended up losing nine of its last 11 games after starting the season 5-4.
Michael Woolfson can be reached at 860-801-5203 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @bigwoolf5