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Follow all the coverage of girls high school basketball throughout the state on their way to Mohegan Sun Arena, the site of this year's championship weekend, March 19-20.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

First glance at state tournament fields

Here’s a quick breakdown of the four state tournament fields. For a complete state tournament preview, check back Monday.
Class LL
Top four seeds: No. 1 Danbury, No. 2 Lauralton Hall, No. 3 Holy Cross and No. 4 Career
Initial thoughts: This field is as deep as ever. Some key injuries can have heavy implications on how this tournament plays out. Danbury’s Casey Smith, likely the top post player in the field, injured her leg Tuesday night. Unsure of the severity of the injury. St. Joseph took a major hit when top player Nancy Stablein went down with a torn ACL and Lauralton Hall is currently without two of its top players in Carly Fabbri and Nicola Matero. Outside of a quarterfinal matchup with No. 5 Hillhouse, Career has a favorable draw. Mercy will take on two FCIAC teams before facing likely either No. 15 East Catholic or Lauralton Hall in the quarterfinals. Best first-round game? No. 16 Sacred Heart Academy vs. No. 17 Cheshire and No. 12.
Sleepers: No. 9 Newtown, No. 15 East Catholic and No. 14 Glastonbury
Championship prediction: Tough call. For now, No. 5 Hillhouse wins its fourth straight state over No. 6 Manchester.

Class L
Top four seeds: No. 1 E.O. Smith, No. 2 Pomperaug, No. 3 Bacon Academy and No. 4 Berlin
Initial thoughts: This field is weak, especially compared to past years. E.O. Smith may have to beat three CCC opponents in order to reach the final. Talent-wise, the Panthers and Pomperaug are head and shoulders above the rest of this field. Intriguing matchup between No. 12 Hand and No. 21 Bunnell, which features two of the field’s top players in Kelsey Cuddy (Hand) and Shaniqua Palmer (Bunnell). No. 7 RHAM will only go as far as Sarah Veilleux can take it.
Sleepers: No. 13 Barlow, No. 12 Hand and No. 11 East Lyme.
Championship prediction: Have to go with No. 1 E.O. Smith over No. 2 Pomperaug.

Class M
Top four seeds: No. 1 Weaver, No. 2 Tolland, No. 3 Ellington and No. 4 Nonnewaug
Initial thoughts: Weaver should cruise to the quarters. No. 29 Seymour will need to provide Christina Cretella with some help in order to knock off No. 4 Nonnewaug. Curious to see if Melissa Tirella and Tierney Lawlor are enough to lead No. 12 Ansonia over No. 21 Plainville. Great first-round matchups between No. 14 Trinity Catholic and No. 19 Kolbe Cathedral, and No. 6 Waterford and No. 27 Law.
Sleepers: No. 18 Notre Dame-Fairfield and No. 27 Law
Championship prediction: A battle of CCC powerhouses: No. 1 Weaver over No. 2 Tolland.    

Class S
Top four seeds: No. 1 Coginchaug, No. 2 Capital Prep, No. 3 Thomaston and No. 4 Cheney Tech
Initial thoughts: Coginchaug caught a bad break with a likely second-round matchup with St. Bernard. Interesting opening-round game between No. 9 Hyde and No. 24 Coventry. Possible intriguing second-round matchup between No. 12 Morgan and No. 5 Wamogo. Capital Prep should coast to the semifinals. No. 14 Old Saybrook has the field’s top post player in Kayla McAvoy.  
Sleepers: No. 9 Hyde, No. 14 Old Saybrook and No. 22 Bloomfield.
Championship prediction: Sticking with my preseason pick here: No. 1 Coginchaug over No. 2 Capital Prep.


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