The bad news for area basketball fans is there doesn’t appear to be a dominant Litchfield County team in the three leagues in which they play: NVL, Berkshire and Constitution State Conference.
The good news for fans is a different twist on the same statement. Last year, the lack of a dominant team produced a season full of exciting games.
Here’s how it looks this year:
Litchfield County’s lone representative, Torrington, graduated most of its starting lineup, starting all over with what Head Coach Eric Gamari calls “lots of pieces.”
Forget about the league’s Brass Division, comprising the Waterbury schools. Sacred Heart, Holy Cross, Crosby, Wilby and Waterbury Career play in a league of their own.
The Red Raiders will take their lumps from Waterbury but hope to get their talented pieces set in time to be competitive in the suburban Iron Division, where the “good news” twist is more apt to prevail.
Five of the league’s nine teams look like contenders for the BL crown: Nonnewaug, Northwestern, Lewis Mills, Thomaston and Wamogo
Northwestern and Nonnewaug came down to the wire a year ago, sharing the regular-season title, then fighting it out for a Nonnewaug win in the league tournament.
Adding to the excitement of a tight race, several of this year’s contenders feature dazzling guards who crank it up with their style.
The Case twins, Anthony and Alex, did that for Northwestern last year before graduating.
Wamogo might offer the best replacement with sophomore captain Garrett Sattazahn and a host of other sophomores Head Coach Gregg Hunt calls “young but experienced.”
The Warriors will swarm like bees at both baskets while teams like Thomaston and this year’s Northwestern try to muscle past them.
Nonnewaug, with guard Nate Firlings at the helm, will try a little of both.
Wolcott Tech is the area’s representative to a league comprised mostly of technical schools.
It’s a weak league in many sports because of the challenges of work-study tech school programs and the wide reach of the area schools.
Boys basketball can be a startling exception, with the league’s many inner-city members.
The Wildcats, with just one win last year, suffer the consequences.