DEALING WITH ADVERSITY
There is plenty of adversity for players to deal with in a normal basketball season: the pressure to succeed, the pressure to keep your spot on the floor. Now, there is the added pressure for each player to try to stay healthy. There will be teams that miss games due to quarantining for the COVID-19 virus. It is inevitable. But dealing with adversity is much better than the alternative: no season at all, which was a legitimate fear for many across the state until the CIAC officially announced preseason practice to begin on Jan. 19.
HOW MANY UNDEFEATED TEAMS
There will be no state tournaments for the second straight year, no Run to the Sun. There will be league tournaments to conclude the 2021 season. Not all will look the same. Some will have an undisputed champion, some will have multiple champions and still more may stay in regions. That could lead to several undefeated teams by season’s end. Let’s put the over/under at three.
THIRD TERM FOR THE GOVERNORS?
Wilbur Cross twice came in as the seeded underdog into the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament final. Twice the Governors defeated top-seeded Notre Dame-West Haven at the Floyd Little Athletic Center. The Govs are the team to beat in the league behind guards Dereyk Grant and Jayvon Taylor. In addition to Notre Dame, West Haven, Hillhouse and Hamden are the contenders looking to dethrone them.
BIG MAN IN BRISTOL
Almost two decades ago, a player who went by the nickname “The Big Deli” patrolled the lane at Bristol Central and earned himself a Division I scholarship to UMass. His name was Jeff Salovski. Bristol Central now has an even bigger presence at center and he stands 7-foot-1: Donovan Clingan already has 17 Division I offers and he is just a junior. Clingan could average a triple-double this season (no pressure, big fella).
So Ridgefield keeps winning FCIAC titles — now three out of its last four — after having plenty of success during the regular season as well (62 regular-season victories over the past four seasons). Yet the Tigers never seem to be the clear-cut favorite in the league. Granted, that speaks to the FCIAC’s balance. But much like Wilbur Cross, Ridgefield has proven it enough times when it counts to get the label as favorite until someone can beat the Tigers in a big spot. They will handle the label just fine.