League tournaments have taken center stage in both boys and girls basketball. All leagues are letting every team have a chance to win a championship.
The format is normally determined by winning percentage. A number of teams across the state didn’t get to play the full 12 regular-season games due to COVID-19 quarantine situations.
It’s that predicament that has led the Naugatuck Valley League to instead use a different format to determine its seeding. Selection committees for both boys and girls basketball made up of both athletic directors and coaches will meet virtually on Thursday to set the field.
“We will have both athletic directors and coaches representing each division (Brass, Iron and Copper),” said Dave Dennehy, the NVL winter sports committee chairperson and athletic director at St. Paul. “We will use strength of schedule where relevant. Everyone will bring their two cents to the table and do the best we can to create a fair, well-seeded tournament for our kids. The goal this entire time is to make the postseason experience as normal as possible.”
Dennehy said some ADs will sit on both the boys and girls committees. These will be two separate meetings held Thursday.
It will be a 16-team field for the boys and 15 for the girls (Derby has opted out of the tournament). Through Tuesday night, the Wilby boys and girls have played just two games each while the Kennedy boys have played just four games.
“With not state tournaments being held, this is as close to it as possible. … This provided the best alternative experience.”
Said Sacred Heart athletic director Michael Madden, also the NVL basketball tournament director: “Every school will be represented by at least an athletic director or a coach. There is not anyone being left out. It’s unique, but it’s the best-possible option for our league and the best possible experience for our student-athletes.”
The tournaments begin on Saturday and conclude March 26-27. All games will be played at the higher seed.
Both Dennehy and Madden confirmed no spectators will be allowed at any of the tournament games.
“We couldn’t have a semifinal or a final with only the home team’s fans. That’s not a great experience and some schools in the NVL are not allowing any home fans.”
Dennehy said the semifinals and finals for both sports will have live web broadcasts with announcers.