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Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's never too early for hoops

The basketball schedules are up on the CIAC website and one game immediately stands out:
Reigning Class LL champion Hillhouse vs. reigning Class L champion Weaver. The top two teams in last year's final Register poll play on Dec. 13 in the Doc Hurley Classic at the Hartford Civic Center. Tip time is at 8 p.m.
It should be interesting to see how those two teams will be after a glorious 2006-07 campaign. Hillhouse has lost just one game the past two seasons. Weaver coach Lou Lapenna joked after the game about possibly being No. 1. Now we get a chance to see these two teams play. The last time the Beavers and Academics met was during the 2005 Division I tournament second round, won convincingly by Hillhouse.
That game ends a fabulous quadruple-header. New London and East Catholic tip off the day at 3 p.m. This is an annual matchup in the Doc Hurley, with the two-time Class LL finalists (East Catholic going up against New London's star Allan Chaney, who has orally committed to the University of Florida, the two-time national champions.
New Britain plays Bulkeley at 4:45 p.m., followed by EO Smith and Windsor at 6:30. It's very likely Hillhouse won't tip off until after 8, but if you can call in sick or get the day off, these four games are worth seeing. How often do you get to see four games on one day and never have to leave your seat?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

October magic

Amazingly, the regular season is more than half over for every fall sport but football. Storylines have developed all over the place.
In football, Ansonia looks like it could go wire-to-wire as the top team in our top 10 poll. Shelton, Hand-Madison, Seymour, Stratford and Bunnell-Stratford are also undefeated. Two of these teams will lose before the season is out, but all have a good chance of making the state playoffs if they continue their success.
In boys' soccer, Cheshire took a step forward Tuesday as being the top team in the Southern Connecticut Conference by beating Xavier at home. These two teams could meet in the SCC final for the second straight year, but Guilford might be the team that could spoil that from happening.
Speaking of SCC tournament finals, Cheshire and Hand seem to be on a collision course to do so in girls' soccer. Both teams are undefeated, but don't face one another during the regular season. I wouldn't count out Amity-Woodbridge, the defending champions, just yet, though.
Girls' swimming gets the stage to itself next Monday evening when Cheshire can set the national record of consecutive dual meets won with 235. The current mark of 234 is held by Elkhart, Indiana. Cheshire faces Branford at the Cheshire Community Center at 7 p.m. on Oct. 15. Kudos to Ed Aston and the many, many swimmers who have kept the streak intact since before any current high school student was born - in 1986.
On Oct. 19, the Guilford girls' cross country team goes for its fourth straight SCC championship at Hammonasset State Park in Madison. Hamden's Courtney Dinnan goes for her second straight individual title. The boys division looks to be wide open.
These teams and individuals will try to keep those great seasons going as October turns to November - when the season really matters most.