2018-19 champion: Wamogo
Favorites: Wamogo, Shepaug Valley
Players to watch: Ethan Collins, Wamogo, Sr., G/F; Owen Hibbard, Shepaug Valley, Sr., G; Jackson Baker, Nonnewaug, Sr., G
Outlook: Wamogo owned the Berkshire last season, going undefeated. That run ended in the second round of the Division III state tournament. Now we see if the Warriors can continue their dominance after losing Garett Sattazahn, Sean Coffey and Reid Turtoro to graduation. It’s still the Warriors’ league until someone else can knock them off. Shepaug Valley and Nonnewaug could have the best chances at doing that.
CENTRAL CONNECTICUT CONFERENCE
2018-19 champion: Windsor
Favorites: Windsor, East Catholic
Players to watch: Amir Spears, Windsor, Sr., G; Corey McKeithan, Windsor, Sr., G; Matt Knowling, East Catholic, Sr., F; Donovan Clingan, Bristol Central, C, So.; Guy Ragland, Northwest Catholic, Sr., C
Outlook: Windsor and East Catholic has been the best rivalry in the state the last two seasons, meeting eight times. East Catholic won six of those games, including last year’s Division I state championship. Now the Warriors — with the state’s best backcourt in McKeithan and Spears, and Justice Ellison transferring in from South Windsor — are the team to beat, not only in the CCC, but in the state. East Catholic and Glastonbury lost several starters, but those two, along with Northwest Catholic and Bristol Central, won’t make it easy for the Warriors.
CAPITOL REGION ATHLETIC LEAGUE
2018-19 champion: Innovation
Favorites: Innovation, Parish Hill
Players to watch: Linwood Hazelwood, Innovation, Sr., F; Jahvon Olmstead, Achievement First, Sr., C; Zach Mihok, Parish Hill, Sr., F; Michael Crowe, University, Jr., G
Outlook: Innovation not only successfully defended its league title, but also won its first state championship, running away from Old Lyme in the second half of the Division V final. Innovation is now in Division III. The team graduated Leonard Okonya and Carlos Gonzalez, so the three-peat chance will not be easy, especially with Parish Hill returning several key players.
CONNECTICUT TECHNICAL CONFERENCE
2018-19 champion: Prince Tech
Favorite: Prince Tech
Players to watch: Kazell Stewart, Prince Tech, Sr., F/G; Tyshawn Jackson, Prince Tech, Jr., G; Luis Aguiar, Goodwin Tech, Sr., F
Outlook: Both Abbott Tech and Wilcox Tech lost All-CTC players from a year ago, including D.J. Ransom, who scored over 2,000 career points at Wilcox Tech. That likely means the gap has widened between Prince Tech and everyone else. Stewart is a Division I prospect and the team is playing a rigorous nonconference schedule that includes Bassick, Wilbur Cross and Weaver. Prince Tech hasn’t lost a regular-season league game since 2016. That streak will continue.
EASTERN CONNECTICUT CONFERENCE
2018-19 champion: Waterford (Division I), St. Bernard (Division II)
Favorites: Waterford, Norwich Free Academy, Fitch, East Lyme, St. Bernard, Stonington
Players to watch: Ryan O’Connell, Waterford, Sr., F; Mason Jackson, Norwich Free Academy, Jr., G; Nolan Molkenthin, Norwich Free Academy, Sr., F; Nate Diaz, East Lyme, Sr., G
Outlook: Waterford graduated its starting backcourt, then suffered a big blow when Payton Sutman suffered an injury late in the football season. He likely won’t play basketball this season. So the Lancers may not be the favorites here, but they certainly will contend. Norwich Free Academy, which lost to Waterford in the ECC Division I tournament final, is the favorite. Fitch should also contend. Despite graduation losses, St, Bernard and Stonington will be contenders in the smaller divisions.
FAIRFIELD COUNTY INTERSCHOLASTIC ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
2018-19 champion: Ridgefield
Favorites: Trinity Catholic, Fairfield Warde, New Canaan
Players to watch: Quentar Taylor, Trumbull, Sr., G; Akim Joseph, Trinity Catholic, Jr., F; Rahsen Fisher, Trinity Catholic, Sr., F; Brendan McMahon, Fairfield Warde, Sr., G; Ryan McAleer, New Canaan, Sr., G
Outlook: Ridgefield has been the tournament champion two of the last three seasons, so despite losing all-state guard Jim St. Pierre, you cannot count out the Tigers. Same goes for Trumbull, which does return Quentar Taylor. New Canaan, last year’s Division IV state champion, has moved up to Division III and will be in the mix, as could St. Joseph and the Fairfield teams, Warde and Ludlowe. Plenty of balance in this league, but Trinity Catholic looks to have a leg up on the others.
NAUGATUCK VALLEY LEAGUE
2018-19 champion: Sacred Heart
Favorites: Sacred Heart, Crosby, Naugatuck
Players to watch: Connor Tierney, Sacred Heart, Jr., C; Lorenzo Washington, Sacred Heart, 5-11, Jr., G; Justin Davis, Crosby, Sr., G; Avery Hinnant, Naugatuck, So., F; Akili Evans, Holy Cross, Sr., G
Outlook: When you lose Nate Tabor, Jamaal Waters and Omar Rowe, you have to come back to the pack, right? Sacred Heart has won the last five NVL crowns in dominating fashion. The Hearts won’t be as dominant this year, but until someone proves they can knock them off, the Hearts are the favorites. Crosby should be a contender, despite graduating forward Kerwin Prince. Naugatuck should also be a factor.
NORTH CENTRAL CONNECTICUT CONFERENCE
2018-19 champion: Granby
Favorites: Granby, Somers, Canton, Classical Magnet
Players to watch: Dylan Disabella, Granby, Sr., G-F; Rowan Heinze, Granby, Sr., F; Alex Barressi, Sr., G; Matt Rivera, Classical Magnet, Jr., G
Outlook: Granby not only dominated in the NCCC, it advanced all the way to the Division IV state finals, With Disabella and Heinze both back, the Bears are the favorites here. Somers, Canton and Classical Magnet will also be in the mix.
SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT CONFERENCE
2018-19 champion: Wilbur Cross
Favorites: Hillhouse, Hamden, Notre Dame (WH), Wilbur Cross, West Haven
Players to watch: Zach Laput, Notre Dame (W.H.), Sr., G; Diontae Eady, Law, Sr., G; Ta’Zhon Daniels, Hillhouse, Sr., G; Malcolm Duncanson, West Haven, Jr., G; Jayvon Chapman, Hamden, Sr., G’ Cinceree Lash, Hillhouse, Sr., G
Outlook: Truly a wide-open affair here. Last year, it was Notre Dame-West Haven that emerged as the best team in the regular season, then Cross took the league title. Any one of the five teams above have the talent to emerge as the front-runner. Should have a good idea by mid-January which one.
2018-19 champion: Cromwell
Favorites: Old Lyme, Valley Regional
Players to watch: Aedan Using, Old Lyme, Sr., C; Brady Sheffield, Old Lyme, Jr., G; Gavin Grabowski, Valley Regional, Sr., G; Rob Zirlis, Morgan, Jr., F
Outlook: Old Lyme was a finalist in both the Shoreline Conference and Division V tournament finals. Led by Using, the Wildcats have enough experience returning to take that next step. Old Lyme is the favorite, with Valley Regional, Cromwell and Morgan in the mix as well.
2018-19 champion: Bunnell
Favorites: Immaculate, Bunnell, Kolbe Cathedral
Players to watch: Sean Guiry, Immaculate, Sr., F; Joe August, Stratford, Sr., G; Max Mitchell, Notre Dame-Fairfield, Sr., F; Riley Ward, Newtown, Sr., G
Outlook: Another conference that has that wide-open look to it. Bunnell’s chance to defend took a major blow when all-state guard Max Edwards transferred to prep school. Each of the contenders lost key personnel. Immaculate, a Division I state semifinalist a season ago, will be there in the end. So will Kolbe Cathedral and Newtown.