Girls basketball is one of the best sports in the state at getting good teams from different conferences to play each other. Each season, mostly in December but sprinkled throughout the season, the best teams often play crossover games. Our favorites are when powerful teams from small conferences (Canton, Cromwell etc.) taking on bigger schools like New London or Notre Dame. Though the SCC-FCIAC-SWC crossovers are usually pretty great, too. None of that is happening this season with teams confined to their conferences. Here is hoping the 2021-22 season is filled with crossover gold!
Having not lost a game in state, Notre Dame-Fairfield was the clear No. 1 team in the state last year despite the lack of a state final. Examining the roster, the Lancers looked unstoppable with just one senior who played significant minutes graduating. That was before two top players in seniors Ciara Brown (Kolbe) and Yamani McCollough (Putnam Science Academy) transferred. Losing just one of those players would cripple most programs. Not to worry, Notre Dame still has All-State junior forward Aizhanique Mayo; senior guard Mac Stone-Folmar, junior guard Kayla Tilus and junior Taylor Gibbs back. They will be complemented by a deep roster of juniors and sophomores and two potentially strong freshmen in Tatiana Bell and Madison Gibbs. You can see why they are the unanimous pick as the GameTimeCT Preseason No. 1.
WE CCC YOU
There is talent all over the state, but the CCC has something special going on right now. Starting with Seton Hall commit, super junior guard Shailyn Pinkney of East Hartford, six players from the conference made the GameTimeCT 25 Players to Watch. Who is the best in the league? Let’s roll the ball out and find out. Here are the contenders: Azaiyah Felder (Conard); Lily Ferguson (Newington); Taylor Golembiewski (E.O. Smith, committed to George Washington); Mary McElroy (Simsbury) and Tyah Pettaway (Middletown).
HELMING THE WHALERS
After nine seasons coaching Capital Prep to a 149-34 record, including winning CIAC state titles in Class S in 2013 and Class L three-straight seasons from 2014-16, Tammy Millsaps is now the head coach at New London. Millsaps takes over a team that went 17-4 last year, sharing the ECC regular-season title before being knocked out in the first round of the Class LL tournament. Prior to last season, the Whalers reached state finals in three of the previous four seasons. One of those games was a loss in the 2016 Class L finals to Millsap and Capital Prep 51-48.
FCIAC BATTLE ROYAL
With no state tournament, we will never know if one of these FCIAC teams would have made a run to the Sun, but it would have been surprising not to see one there. When we last left Class LL in March, Staples and Greenwich were set to play in one semifinal. Staples lost Arianna Gerig to graduation and Greenwich had its two best players transfer out. However, Trumbull brings back a huge senior class from a team that was 17-4 last year; Ridgefield brings back the core of its FCIAC title team; Ludlowe is filled with experienced upperclassmen; Stamford is young but talented and Danbury’s mix of size and speed could be the best of the bunch after it plays out.