After covid-19 canceled the 2020 state girls basketball tournaments in the quarterfinals, a proper postseason makes its triumphant return to Connecticut high school basketball as the CIAC released the brackets for the five girl’s tournaments.
First-round games will begin Feb. 28 and eight local schools have the chance to make a run to the state championship games at Mohegan Sun Arena March 19-20. Newington and St. Paul each earned byes through the first round in their respective brackets and will not have to start their journeys until later into next week.
Senior UMass-commit Lilly Ferguson led Newington to the top overall seed in Class L with a 19-1 regular-season record. The Nor’easters will open their tournament at home in the second round against the winner of 16th-seeded Bristol Central and 17th-seeded Platt, both Central Connecticut Conference teams they did not face in the regular season. A win would earn Newington another home game for the quarterfinals before the tournament moves to neutral sites.
A 10-10 record earned Bristol Central the 16th seed in Class L and its first home playoff game since 2000. The Rams will host CCC – South foe Platt (10-10) on Feb. 28 after splitting a pair of contest in the regular season. The Panthers came out victorious in Bristol 47-35 on Jan. 11, but Central enacted revenge in Meriden on Feb. 1 with a 44-34 win. The winner earns an opportunity to knock off top-seeded Newington in the second round.
21st-seeded Bristol Eastern will start its Class L Tournament on the road against 12th-seeded Bethel (12-9) on Feb. 28. The Lancers will enter the game with nearly two weeks of rest since their last game and will look to steal a win from a Bethel team that lost its opening game of the South West Conference Tournament.
The winner will face the winner of fifth-seeded E.O. Smith and 28th-seeded Kennedy. Eastern started its season with a 61-51 loss to E.O. Smith, while an upset from Kennedy would give the Lancers a home game in the second round.
New Britain (12-9) opens the Class LL as the 18th seed and will travel to another CCC team in 15th-seeded Glastonbury (12-9) on Feb. 28. The two sides did not face in the regular season, but shared six opponents where the Guardians won three times and the Hurricanes won once.
New Britain is in pursuit of its first state tournament win since 2009 when it beat South Windsor in the first round. If the team ends its drought of playoff wins it will move on to face No. 2 East Harford (21-2) in the second round.
Southington (18-4) enters the Class LL draw as the eighth-seeded team and will host 25th-seeded Westhill on Feb. 28. The Blue Knights have a pair of wins over FCIAC opponents this season in Darien and Wilton, which Westhill beat and lost to, respectively.
Southington will look to build off its semifinal run in the CCC Tournament and earn a spot in the second round to face the winner of ninth-seeded Newtown and 24th-seeded Manchester, which defeated the Blue Knights 57-55.
St. Paul (16-5) earned a first-round bye as the fifth seed in Class MM and will not play its first state-tournament game until March 3 when it will host the winner of 12th-seeded Waterford and 21st-seeded Rocky Hill. The Falcons were never eliminated from the state tournament two years ago and will look to avenge their quarterfinal-run that never met its end.
Berlin (13-8) will also start their playoff run at home as Class MM’s ninth-seeded team. The Redcoats will host 24th-seeded Weston (9-12) on Feb. 28 with the hopes of facing the winner between No. 8 Weaver and No. 25 Branford in the second round.
The 11th seed in Class M, Goodwin Tech (15-5) will host 22nd-seeded Morgan in the first round. The Gladiators are in the midst of the Connecticut Technical Conference Tournament and will hope to use that experience to start the state tournament with a win. A trip to the second round would pit them against the winner of sixth-seeded Seymour and 27th-seeded Wilcox Tech, which Goodwin Tech beat by 34 points Dec. 27.