Boys Basketball

Second-Chance Points: The Only Certainty In Playoff Race Is Uncertainty

Trinity Catholic's Neno Merritt drives on Norwalk's Steven Enoch and Zaire Wilson during Tuesday's game. (Photo: Lauren Price)

Trinity Catholic’s Neno Merritt drives on Norwalk’s Steven Enoch and Zaire Wilson during Tuesday’s game. (Photo: Lauren Price)

NORWALK — Status quo in this FCIAC boys basketball season is measured in 90-minute intervals.

That is the approximate time it takes to complete a game. And it takes one game to not only change the landscape, but cause an upheaval.

Case in point: Norwalk’s 58-53 win over Trinity Catholic on Tuesday night.

The Crusaders were riding a five-game winning streak and seemed on the verge of comfortably positioning themselves for a run at a conference tournament berth. The Bears had come close but were still lacking a signature win and were on the verge of seeing their playoff hopes reduced to hanging by a thread.

Second Chance Points New

Now the teams find themselves with 5-6 league marks and in a five-way tie for what would be the eighth and final seed if the season ended today. Sitting a game ahead of them is Brien McMahon, which opened the season 2-6 but is now on a five-game winning streak.

Bunched one game behind is another pack of four teams with an even thinner margin for error.

A month ago I joked with a coach about holding a contest to correctly predict the order of finish for the FCIAC Tournament, and that given the degree of difficulty, an appropriate prize would be a car. With just three weeks remaining in the regular season, I’m not sure the task is any easier.

Right now you can book Bridgeport Central, Greenwich and Westhill as playoff locks. You can almost Sharpie in Ridgefield and Stamford. You can rule out New Canaan, Staples and Fairfield Warde. While the belief here is a few of the 4-7 teams will soon be joining them, for now that leaves 11 schools with at least realistic hopes of earning one of the three remaining spots.

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Given that every night is going to feature at least one or two games involving these teams, there are going to be many more 90-minute, 90-degree turns.

As Trinity coach Mike Walsh said after the Norwalk game, “It’s a loss I think will come back to haunt us if we don’t learn from it.”

That sentiment will continue to prevail.

Of the bubble teams, none has yet to demonstrate any consistency. The Senators are the hottest of the group, but they play Westhill on Friday night, still have Greenwich and Ridgefield ahead, as well as what can be considered four 50-50 games that can go either way.

And while McMahon’s recent play is cause for encouragement, right not it is in the same position the Crusaders found themselves prior to facing Norwalk.

The Bears looked like more than just the Roy Kane Jr. Show against Trinity. The result of their game with Wilton Friday night will cause a huge swing in perception, not to mention standing.

There is a reason so many teams are straddling the .500 fence this season. As with the records, there is very little to distinguish the middle tier of teams. Some have overachieved. Some have underachieved. Some are just mediocre.

With a defined upper class, at least the prospect of upsets in the FCIAC Tournament are looking dimmer.

Which means the best theater of the season may not come in the playoffs, but in the qualifying race.