1. Can Prep go the distance?
Plot line: The state’s last undefeated team beat Hillhouse for the third time last Wednesday to win its first Southern Connecticut Conference championship. They have the presence of 7-foot-2 Paschal Chukwu and very good guard play led by Tommy Nolan. The Jesuits have plenty of weapons on offense. But they have a difficult LL bracket to navigate, including possibly Hillhouse for a fourth time in the quarterfinals.
You should know: Prep is seeking its first state title since winning the LL division in 1997.
2. Hurricane Warnings
Plot Line: New Britain was one of the top teams in the Central Connecticut Conference this season. The Hurricanes are led by Annuel Saint Juste, Curtis Hyman and Craven Johnson. They are seeded fifth in the LL division and definitely a contender for the state title.
You should know: If seedings hold to form, New Britain could face Simsbury for the third time in the second round on Thursday. The two teams split during the regular season.
3. Going for 23
Plot line: Things didn’t look good for the first six weeks of the season, but the Class LL defending champions are ready for another deep tournament run. Hillhouse’s only loss since the beginning of February was to Prep in the SCC final. Seniors Raiquan Clark and Shane Christie have been offensive forces down the stretch for the Academics, who have won a state-record 22 CIAC titles.
You should know: Head coach Renard Sutton is 93-10 in four years at Hillhouse.
4. FCIAC Kingpin
Plot line: Bridgeport Central beat Greenwich to successfully defend its FCIAC title. Led by Tyler Ancrum, the Hilltoppers are on a mission after eventual champion Hillhouse bounced them in the Class LL quarterfinals last season.
You should know: The Hilltoppers’ only loss came in overtime to Westhill.
5. 600 Club
Plot line: Crosby coach Nick Augelli is just one victory away from becoming the fourth coach in state history to reach 600 wins. The Bulldogs host Manchester on Tuesday. The Bulldogs won their 10th Naugatuck Valley League title in 11 years against Sacred Heart last Wednesday.
You should know: Also, star player Tyshon Rogers is just nine points short of becoming the NVL’s all-time leading scorer, surpassing former Torrington star Jordan Williams.
6. Panther Pride
Plot line: Career is balanced offensively and tough to score on defensively. Guards Amos Ford and Tyreek Perkins, along with burly forward Jordan Lomax, lead the way for the Panthers. Their four losses are twice each to Prep and Hillhouse, both ranked in the top 5.
You should know: Career could face fellow SCC team Guilford in the quarterfinals if seeding holds to form.
7. Is it in the Cards?
Plot line: Greenwich was one of the early-season surprises. The Cardinals won their first 14 games of the season. They have a very good inside-outside duo in center Alex Wolf (headed to Dartmouth) and guard C.J. Byrd. Greenwich is the No. 4 seed in Class LL and hosts Shelton in the opening round.
You should know: Greenwich has never even reached a state final, let alone won a title.
8. Salute the Colonels!
Plot line: Ledyard did not lose a single game in the Eastern Connecticut Conference during the regular season. The Colonels are led by forward Darnay Gray. They played a very good non-conference schedule, but lost to three of those teams: Xavier, Glastonbury and Hartford Public. And the Colonels were upset in the ECC tournament semifinals by Norwich Free Academy.
You should know: Ledyard also has never reached a state final.
9. Sacred Ground
Plot line: Sacred Heart won 17 straight games before losing in the NVL tournament final to Crosby. Point guard Mustapha Heron missed the last two games of the tournament with a knee injury but is expected back this week. Malik Petteway, along with Heron, lead the Class S favorite.
You should know: Heron, a sophomore, has already made an oral commitment to Pittsburgh.
10. Notre Dame x 2
Plot line: Notre Dame-Fairfield, the best team in the South-West Conference during the regular season, is the No. 2 seed in Class M. The Lancers are led by Jaylen Jennings and looking to make a run after losing in the SWC tournament quarterfinals. Notre Dame-West Haven had Fairfield Prep on the ropes before falling in the SCC tournament quarterfinals by four. The Green Knights are led by Tahj Eaddy.
You should know: Notre Dame-Fairfield has not been to a state final since 1980 — and that was the Lancers’ only appearance in a state final.