Between The Lines 3/22/13
It's been a while since Between The Lines was last posted but with the excitement of the winter sports post season there were plenty of great stories to take the place of LCS' weekly column lineup.
I'll start with some leftovers from a memorable March that was highlighted by the Thomaston girls basketball team's run to the Class S Finals.
The Bears fell to Capital Prep, the No. 1 ranked team in the state, in the final at Mohegan Sun Arena, but that hardly diminished their accomplishments, which included giving a lift to the entire town of Thomaston.
Packed gyms, firetruck rides, school and town pride, the Bears' run to Mohegan Sun was a memorable one. You could not only see, but you could also feel what the team and their accomplishments meant to the school and the town. The first thing a team has to do is play for itself, if you aren't there for each other you're nothing, much less a team.
But these Bears were there for each other, every night and more and more people got a glimpse of that as the season wore on. In big wins over Lewis Mills, over Nonnewaug.
When they overcame the quarterfinal jinx and knocked off Hyde Leadership. You got the feeling something special was happening and it started in a belief in themselves and a willingness to do whatever it took for one another. Then it overtook the entire town.
"I think we brought the town together," senior guard Maggie Eberhardt said. "It was a great experience. Being with this team, through all this. It was all I could ask for, it was incredible."
It sure was.
BL'S BEST - The Northwestern boys were head and shoulders above anyone in the BL this season and won its first 24 games before a loss to Bloomfield in the Class M quarterfinals.
John Stevens and Connor Guiheen both reached the 1,000-point milestone - in the same game - and the Highlanders won the BL regular-season and tournament titles in one of the best seasons by a local team in recent memory.
GO GET SOME SUN - I can't put it any plainer and I won't go crazy overdoing it but if you are a sports fan, especially a high school sports fan make sure to get down to Mohegan Sun for one of the basketball championship sessions.
I've covered a lot of big events including some in the state of Connecticut and the HS hoops championships are as good a sporting event as you will find in the state.
There was energy, good crowds, buzzer beaters, comebacks. You name it and the weekend had it. Mohegan Sun and the CIAC do a great job with the event and it is a great showcase for HS basketball and something Connecticut sports fans should get behind and support.
THE NESTOR BRACKET CHALLENGE: It's March so we must be filling out brackets in the Nestor house, a yearly ritual that annually shows the more you know the less you know. At least that is the case for me.
The resident sports writer, I have not won a tournament bracket, in my own house or outside, since 1991 when Duke upset UNLV in the Final Four en route to their first of back-to-back national titles.
It's been a long drought which can probably be summed up by the fact that I end up rooting against about half of my picks in the name of an upset and most of the upsets that occur are the ones I don't pick.
Everyone in the house is involved now as my six-year-old twins Jack and Samantha are now involved. You may see this as cute but I only view them as two more people I will likely finish behind.
Here are the other contenders and I'll update our bracket standings this next week. The prize is dinner of the winners choice made by the four non-winners. I fully expect to be head chef.
Nancy: My wife is a bracketologist. She has won the tournament pool at at least three places I have worked and won our first family challenge in 2011. She was barely edged by James last season and is the favorite. She watches college hoops only occasionally and seems to get most of her information about the games and teams from me, the difference being she ends up using the information in a positive way. Nancy has all four one seeds (Louisville, Gonzaga, Kansas and Indiana) making the Final Four with Louisville beating Kansas for the national title.
James: My oldest son and the defending champion. James keeps up with college hoops for the most part and has a Final Four of Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas and Indiana with the
Blue Devils beating the Jayhawks for the national title. Ribs and wings were on the menu last season and there is a good chance of another meat-fest in 2013.
Jack: If you read my column a few months back you are aware of both of my son's penchant for jumping on bandwagons and March Madness has proved to be no different. We saw the Big Ten tournament final last week on selection Sunday and Jack is now all in on Ohio State and has the Buckeyes winning it all over VCU. Before you laugh about the VCU pick (his uncle went there), Jack had both 12-5 upsets on the first day and had Davidson, which choked away a win over Marquette. Louisville and Syracuse are Jack's other Final Four picks and I have no doubt he is well on his way to beating me soundly.
Samantha: Sami's picks are very chalky with a few name recognition selections thrown in for good measure. Sami likes Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas and Miami to make it to the title game with Duke over Kansas her pick for the national title. She almost went Kansas to win it all and changed last minute, we'll see if she ends up regretting it.
John: Me. You know my sad story so now Duke, Ohio State, Georgetown and Indians (Duke over Indiana) all have no chance. I am enjoying myself though. Everyone is into it and the highlight so far has been counting how many different ways the kids pronounce Gonzaga (Gonzagna, Gonzannyga). I could surprise, but don't hold your breath. I'll be in the kitchen starting someone else's dinner.