As February quickly approaches, area teams are hoping to clinch tournament spots or improve their current standing in the divisional rankings. Plenty of postseason implications will be in play as the action unfolds in the coming week, especially on the hardwood.
The New Britain boys basketball team dropped out of the top-10 rankings in Division-I after a two-point loss to Manchester last Tuesday in its efforts to lock up a state tournament berth, but the Hurricanes will have chance to move up on Monday on the road against Hartford Public, which New Britain handled in a 69-51 win at home last month at the New Britain Holiday Tournament.
The Hurricanes will also travel to Simsbury on Friday night, and given the Trojan’s rough season so far (they are just 2-7 on the year), New Britain has a good chance of sweeping the week.
The girls team will have two chances at home to erase two years of frustration and seal a tournament spot this week, hosting Wethersfield on Tuesday night and Conard on Friday. Both games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
The Hurricanes took on Wethersfield on the road earlier this season and were dealt a rough 76-33 defeat, and Friday will be their first time battling Conard.
The Hurricanes aren’t the only team from New Britain looking to clinch. The Goodwin Tech girls basketball team visits Ellis Tech at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday and hosts Grasso Tech on Friday at 4:30 p.m. The Gladiators haven’t faced either team yet this season.
The Southington girls basketball team is rolling, owning a 12-1 record and the top spot in the Class LL rankings, and has two games in the coming week. The Blue Knights host Hall on Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. before heading to Bloomfield on Friday for a 6 p.m. tip.
Southington enters the week riding a 10-game winning streak. Newington is on fire as well, and after navigating a brutal stretch of its schedule, gets a pair of seemingly easier contests this week when it heads to Rocky Hill on Tuesday and hosts Hall on Friday. The Indians smacked Rocky Hill 52-24 earlier this season, and Hall has lost five in a row.
Berlin concludes the trio of area girls basketball teams that are among the best in the state, and has two games as well this week. The Redcoats, now officially whole with the return of Ashley Wenzel, take the short trip to Maloney on Monday at 6:30 p.m. and host E.O. Smith on Friday night at 6:45 p.m. Berlin hosted the Spartans earlier this year and won in a 44-20 rout.
The Plainville and Innovation girls basketball teams both have some work to do in order to reach the postseason, and both will look to make headway this week.
The Ravens host Terryville on Monday at 5:30 p.m. and MLC on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. before heading to HMTCA on Friday for a 6:45 p.m. start. Innovation lost to Terryville earlier this year but beat MLC earlier this month. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils have a pair of home games this week against a tough Bristol Eastern team on Monday night and welcome East Hartford on Thursday at 6:45 p.m.
On the boys side, Southington and Newington have just one game in the coming week, but it’s a local bout against each other on Friday at 6:45 p.m. at Southington.
Innovation, fresh off clinching a state tournament spot, has no such light schedule this week, facing Bulkeley on Monday night and MLC Wednesday night, both on the road, before hosting University on Friday night at 7 p.m.
Berlin hosts Platt on Monday at 6:45 p.m. before traveling to take on a tough Manchester squad on Thursday, also at 6:45 p.m.
Plainville is on the road all week, visiting Maloney on Tuesday night and South Windsor on Thursday night. Goodwin Tech, winners of four in a row, hosts Ellis Tech at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday before heading to Grasso Tech on Friday night. The Gladiators have five wins on the year, and another successful week will put them on the doorstep of a state tournament spot.
Wednesday is a busy day on the wrestling mat, as New Britain hosts Farmington at 6 p.m., while Berlin hosts Bristol Eastern at the same time. Also at 6 p.m., Newington heads to Conard and Southington, currently ranked No. 6 in the state, visits Simsbury. Plainville rounds out the packed evening by traveling to Middletown.
On Saturday, New Britain and Southington will compete in the Highlander Invitational at Portland High School, while Berlin and Plainville will participate in the Lancer Duals at Waterford High School. Saturday also rounds out the week for the Newington/Berlin boys ice hockey team, which hosts Masuk at 5 p.m. after hosting Shepaug on Monday at 4 p.m.
In the pool, Berlin has two meets at home, hasting Middletown on Wednesday and Northwest Catholic on Friday. Newington hosts Hartford Public on Tuesday, while Plainville’s lone meet is Friday against Rocky Hill. Southington is in action on Tuesday afternoon against Conard.