By MICHAEL LETENDRE
PLAINVILLE – This week begins state tournament action in girls scholastic hoops and the locals will be right in the thick of things.
It’s never easy navigating in the unpredictable CCC South during regular season play but credit belongs to Plainville as it was one of the top schools in the division and improved its record by three games over last year’s final tally.
And because of its great finish, the Blue Devils earned a home tournament date in the Class M fray.
The Plainville squad – at 13-7 overall – zipped up the 15th seed and took on 18th rated Stonington from the Ivan Wood Gym on March 3, weather permitting.
And the Blue Devils reward for advancing to the second round would have been a date with either second ranked Cromwell (19-1) or No. 31 Enfield (9-11) if it survived the first round.
If the Raiders could have tallied some sort of upset bid, Plainville would have earned another home game in the tournament.
Plainville, if it can get through to the quarterfinal round, could have an interesting mix of opponents to grapple with on March 10.
No. 7 Lewis Mills, No. 10 Haddam-Killingworth, and No. 23 Old Saybrook could be in the cards.
Also on the local front, the St. Paul girls basketball team – who went a nifty 19-4 on the year – earned a first round bye and if the Falcons can run the table, the number one team in all of Class S can play two games from the Maltby Street Gym.
The winner of No. 16 Westbrook and No. 17 Wolcott tangled with St. Paul on Thursday, March 7 and if the Falcons got by the second round, the quarterfinals could lead to a very unique challenge.
No. 8 Tourtellotte also earned a bye and could sneak into the quarters if it defeated either No. 9 Classical or No. 24 Lyman Memorial who will battled on March 4 in first round action.
The semifinals could see the Falcons take on either No. 4 Bolton or No. 5 St. Benard on March 17 from a neutral site, with a victory earning the squad a chance at the Class S championship.
The Falcons won the Class S championship in 2010 with a 39-37 victory over Portland.
In the Class L bracket, Bristol Eastern (16-5) earned itself the eighth seed in the fray and could have upwards of two home games.
In first round action on Tuesday, March 4, CCC foe Windsor – a squad that, in the past, has given the Lancers several fits – was ranked 25th and traveled to the Thomas M. Monahan Gym on the campus of Bristol Eastern.
If the Lancers pasted its first test, Eastern would still be home for the second round on Friday, March 7.
The opponent would have been either No. 9 Watertown (16-4) or twenty-fourth rated Sacred Heart Academy (9-11).
The victor of that challenge could end up facing the top seed in all of Class L, Capital Prep, of Hartford on the road in the semifinals on March 13.
And then in the Class LL bracket, Bristol Central picked up the 20th seed and started its journey on the road against No. 13 Greenwich this past Monday.
If the Rams (13-7) made it past the first round tilt, a date with either No. 2 South Windsor or No. 29 Norwalk was in the cards.
South Windsor, at 19-3 overall on the regular season, is a formidable foe and Central would have to play the contest from the Bobcats own gym.
If Norwalk could score the upset, the Rams would earn a home contest in the second round battle.
A quarterfinal encounter with No. 5 Amity (18-2), No. 12 Daniel Hand (15-5) or No. 21 Southington (12-8) could be in the cards if the Rams could score an upset or two over the first two rounds.
Class M State Tournament Rankings:
No. 1 Holy Cross (22-1 overall, 19-1 regular season)
No. 2 Cromwell (19-1)
No. 3 Prince Tech (18-2)
No. 4 Bullard Havens Tech (18-2)
No. 5 New London (17-3)
No. 6 Morgan (16-4)
No. 7 Lewis Mills (16-4)
No. 8 Kolbe Cathedral (15-4)
No. 9 Tolland (15-5)
No. 10 Haddam-Killingworth (14-6)
No. 11 Suffield (14-6)
No. 12 Coginchaug (14-6)
No. 13 Northwestern (14-6)
No. 14 St. Joseph (13-7)
No. 15 Plainville (13-7)
No. 16 Wolcott (13-7)
No. 17 Ellington (13-7)
No. 18 Stonington (13-7)
No. 19 East Hampton (13-7)
No. 20 East Catholic (12-8)
No. 21 Plainfield (12-8)
No. 22 Rocky Hill (12-8)
No. 23 Old Saybrook (12-8)
No. 24 Windsor Locks (12-8)
No. 25 Kaynor Tech (11-9)
No. 26 Waterford (11-9)
No. 27 Cheney Tech (11-9)
No. 28 Montville (10-10)
No. 29 Windham (10-10)
No. 30 Granby Memorial (9-11)
No. 31 Enfield (9-11)
No. 32 Wilcox (8-12)