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State Tournament action kicks off in girls basketball. A look ahead on the road to Mohegan Sun.

POSTED February 27, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON- For those of us who have watched enough State Tournament games over the years, one thing is always perfectly clear.

Pay no attention to rankings. Let me repeat that. Pay no attention to the rankings.

Those teams who ignore my wise advise are usually home resting by next weekend.

State tournament action gets underway for the girls tonight with four class championships up for grabs.

Who will still be playing the weekend of March 18 or 19?

So much of what happens over the next three weeks can come down to the draws teams get early on, when the higher seeds play the lower seeds in the toughest rounds of the tourney.

Class M: What is the reward for going 20-0 in your regular season and 2-0 in your league tournament?

For the Lewis Mills Spartans girls, it means no first round bye and the need to win five games for the ultimate prize.

Round one presents the classic, look at their record, this should be a cake-walk as the Spartans take on New Fairfield.

The Rebels come in with a 10-11 record and are ranked dead last in Class M.

Looking closer though, you will find this is a team that has played some of the toughest teams in the Southwest Colonial Conference (and the State) and stayed close to teams that play in Class LL this time of the year.

New Fairfield lost to Lauralton Hall (LL), Newtown (LL), Pampering (LL), Masuk (L) and Kolbe Cathedral (M) during the regular season but was only blown out once (17 to Newtown) during those games.

Mills side of the bracket has Kolbe-Cathedral set up for a potential quarterfinal match-up along with possible meetings with #4 Ellington of the North Central Connecticut Conference or St Paul Catholic from the Naugatuck Valley League.

The Falcons of St Paul are the defending Class S champions. Not as easy road by any means.

In other Class M local action, the #13 Nonnewaug Chief’s will have their hands full when they host #20 Coventry from the always strong, NCCC.

Fred Williams and his Northwestern Highlanders (#19, 13-7) girls will be on the road when they take on Weston (#14, 13-7).

Class L: With their first round bye, the Torrington girls are off until Thursday when they resume play at home when they host the winner of the #14 Darien (13-7) versus #19 Wilton (11-9) in tonight’s opening round action

Both potential opponents play in the Farifield County Conference and also see LL competition on a regular basis.

The Raiders are coming off a tough 65-48 loss to Holy Cross in the Naugatuck Valley League Tournament championship game on February 23.

The Blue Wave from Darien lost by just two to both Ridgefield and Norwalk, both ranked in the top 20 in LL.

Wilton, nicknamed the Warriors, also played Ridgefield tough before dropping a 45-40 decision.

Torrington’s side of the bracket also includes #2 E.O Smith, #7 Farmington and #6 New Canaan.

The team to beat in Class L though, seems to be Hillhouse, even with their # 4 ranking.

The Academics have won 11 in a row coming into the tournament.

Bacon Academy holds the top spot in L but could meet up with Hillhouse in the quarterfinals.

Class S-The tournament gets underway for two local teams who will then send one of them to play the third team that qualified from Class S in second round action.

The #12 Wamogo Warriors (14-6) will host #21 Housatonic (10-10) tonight in Litchfield with the winner moving on to play #5 Thomaston (17-3) on Thursday in the second round.

We are guaranteed one local in the quarterfinals who may get the right to play a very tough team from Portland, ranked #4 at 17-3.

Strap in and get ready for the ride. Will it lead to one of our locals traveling to Uncasville? Only time and wins will tell.

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