The Southern Connecticut Conference boys basketball championship game will return to the TD Bank SportsCenter at Quinnipiac University.
SCC commissioner Al Carbone said Quinnipiac has agreed to host just the boys final on March 1. It had hosted the final for six seasons before Shelton hosted it last year.
“Knowing that we were possible dealing with an overflowing crowd, the (league’s) athletic director gave me the authority to go back to Quinnipiac to play that game there,” Carbone said.
After needing to turn people away due to a sellout of last season’ SCC final between Fairfield Prep and Hillhouse at Shelton High, the league understood the need to go to a larger venue (TD Bank is approximately double Shelton’s capacity), no matter what the cost.
“It’s taken a couple of months (to work out the details). I told Quinnipiac, ‘We’re willing to wait and willing to do whatever it takes to get the game back there.’”
Carbone also said the athletic directors were in agreement to just have the boys final there. The girls final will be held Feb. 22 at East Haven High.
Speaking of East Haven High, this will be the first year since 1998 the facility will not be used in the SCC boys tournament. The SCC semifinals will be held Feb. 27 at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven. This is the first time this venue has been used in the SCC tournament.
For the same reason, the league decided to go back to Quinnipiac is the reason for this change, Carbone said East Haven holds approximately 1,680 fans while the athletic center holds 2,500.
“Are we doing our job going to a facility where people get shut out or going to a facility where we know we have more seats and allow everyone the opportunity to watch two really good basketball games,” Carbone said. “We don’t want to have happen what did happen at Shelton last year.”
Undefeated Hillhouse uses the athletic center for several of its home games, but Carbone doesn’t feel it’s an unfair advantage.
“It’s not a concern because all the city teams use that facility,” Carbone said. “If our teams advance in the state playoffs, they may be playing there. It’s no different than me last year considering going to Alumni Hall (which Fairfield Prep uses) last year for the final.”
Branford will host the quarterfinals on Feb. 25. Carbone said that in preparation for big crowds there, there
would be a larger break between the second and third games. Times will become official later this month.
“The whole point is we are expecting big crowds and we need to be able to handle crowds,” Carbone said. “Based on what we are seeing in the regular season, there is going to be a lot of interest in our boys basketball playoffs.”
On another SCC note, undefeated Hillhouse and Notre Dame-West Haven, the No. 1 and 2 teams in the Register/GameTimeCT poll, do not play one another during the regular season as most people already know and are not terribly happy about.
“When we realigned the divisions ranked the teams. Notre Dame is in a different division and in a different row so their crossover games were not aligned, Hillhouse is the No. 1 ranked team based on the five previous seasons used and Notre Dame was No. 7,” Carbone said. “This was approved in April.”
The SCC has never had two teams complete the regular season 20-0.