Boys Basketball

Second-Chance Points: A Season Full Of Rhyme, But No Reason

Greenwich's Alex Wolf, guarded by Stamford's Kweshon Askew during Monday's game, scored 29 points to lead the Cardinals to victory. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

Greenwich’s Alex Wolf, guarded by Stamford’s Kweshon Askew during Monday’s game, scored 29 points to lead the Cardinals to victory. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

Last week, when Bridgeport Central was leading in the fourth quarter of the most anticipated game of the regular season, one sportswriter on Twitter opined that it was on the verge of upsetting Greenwich.

The basis for the comment was the Cardinals at the time being one of the last three unbeaten teams in the state. Never mind for a second that it would actually have been more of an upset had Greenwich left Bridgeport still unscathed.

Unless the Hilltoppers are taken down again before the state tournament, can we finally take the word upset and put it away in a closet for the next two weeks? It is no longer applicable.

While the race for the last three seeds has been unpredictable and, with eight teams still in contention, will likely remain so until the final regular season game has been played, all of a sudden there is confusion at the top.

Greenwich’s loss to Brien McMahon on Saturday was also not — sorry, the “u-word” has been banished from the conversation — a surprise. What was is that the Cardinals remained unbeaten for as long as they did.

Suddenly, their hold on the No. 2 seed is tenuous, and could change seven hours after this sentence has been typed. Stamford, with a win at Greenwich, could jump all the way to the second position, and would hold tiebreakers over the three schools in the hunt for seeds 2-5, in a sense giving it a one-game lead.

Second Chance Points New

These are the same Black Knights who were run out of the Trinity Catholic gym two weeks ago.

How zany is this season? I posed this question to a league coach over the weekend: take Greenwich, Stamford, Ridgefield, Westhill, Brien McMahon, the teams behind Central right now in the conference standings. Suppose I told you that a game between any of the two would be decided by 15 points. Name the winner.

Each of these teams is capable of doing it to one of the others. St. Joseph is all of a sudden coming on strong, and Wilton, Warren Harding, Norwalk and Trinity Catholic, on a night when they are playing well, can beat any of the teams ahead of them.

 

All of the above was written early Monday afternoon, before I decided to delay running this notebook for fear that while the theme would stay true, a lot of the content would be obsolete.

As Monday night reinforced, the shelf life for opinion in the league this year is the same as a half gallon of milk left outside on a 90-degree day.

Many of these words may no longer be applicable by 9 on Wednesday night.

Stamford was 12 minutes away from making the leap all the way to the second seed, only to get outworked the rest of the way by Greenwich, which received a 29-point, 18-rebound performance by 6-8 center Alex Wolf in one of the best if not the best game of his career.

Best because of the assertiveness he demonstrated. If that continues the rest of the way, the Cardinals are going to be a dangerous postseason entity.

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From the bazaar: Norwalk, which has come up small far too many times, was defeated by a 3-win Staples team that put five guys in double figures. From the near-bazaar: St. Joseph, which played so well against Trinity Catholic on Saturday, needed a late spurt to defeat New Canaan.

Right now we are looking at three sections among 14 teams battling for eight spots. Actually, it is really eight teams for three spots.

At the top tier, Bridgeport Central stands alone. It has all but locked up the No. 1 seed and is the prohibitive favorite to win a second straight title.

The middle tier consists of Greenwich, Ridgefield, Stamford and Westhill, which have clinched playoff berths but are still in a seeding chase. The Cardinals right now are in a strong position for the second seed.

There is little difference between the four teams. Right now the second and third spots are highly coveted, because it would mean not having to face the Hilltoppers until the final.

Then there is the game of staying alive in the third tier. For now we are going to remove Bassick and Trumbull, which already have nine losses and still have to play Greenwich. We are also going to erase Harding, which is tied for the ninth spot but has lost key personnel to academic ineligibility.

That leaves us with Brien McMahon, Wilton, St. Joseph, Norwalk, Trinity Catholic and Darien for the last three spots. The Senators are by far playing the best of the group, but have games remaining against three fellow contenders. The Blue Wave have a difficult schedule and are in a horrible position with tiebreakers that are inevitably going to be needed.

You would think there would be some clarity with just three games remaining in the regular season. But every team involved has at least two that have to be considered either 50-50 or is against one of the top five teams.

Right now, as with the records, it is hard to have a lot of confidence in any of the group. Not taking the schedule into account, based solely on consistency the pick here would be Wilton. Based on talent, it would be St. Joseph, McMahon and Trinity Catholic.

But talent hasn’t equated into wins this season. It has been counterbalanced by one of the most intriguing races in league history.

At this point there is no reason to believe what has happened over the first 17 games will change for the last three.

Bracketology

No. 1 Bridgeport Central (16-1) vs. No. 8 Wilton (10-7). Terrific job Warriors just to qualify for the tournament. And thank you for playing.

No. 2 Greenwich (15-2) vs. No. 7 St. Joseph (9-8). The Cadets in two days were a paradigm for the league. They looked like a playoff sleeper in dominating Trinity. Then they sleepwalked through a win against New Canaan.

No. 3 Ridgefield (13-3) vs. No. 6 Brien McMahon (10-7). A quick shoutout to the Tigers, who have received the least amount of publicity among the teams at the top of the league but have been among the most deserving of the headline treatment.

No. 4 Stamford (12-5) vs. No. 5 Westhill (13-4). Anyone in Stamford against seeing this rematch?