The SLC stretches past Class S

Yesterday I wrote about how deep the Shoreline Conference was and focused on the Class S tournaments, but completely forgot about Class M. I just looked at the girls tournament results and Haddam-Killingworth will be playing for the Class S soccer championship.

H-K may play a mostly Class S schedule in the Shoreline Conference, but as I said yesterday, it is probably the deepest in the state, especially in girls soccer. They will be playing Waterford for the title on Saturday and although it’s tough to make a prediction, these two schools have a common opponent we can base some of that off of.

Both teams played Woodstock this year. Woodstock earned the #7 seed in the Class L tournament and won their first game 6-0 over Fermi before losing to Bunnell.

In the third game of the season for the Cougars, they tied Woodstock 2-2 in the northeast corner of the state. In the last game of the season for Waterford, the Lancers lost to Woodstock at home 3-2. There is not much to go by with this common opponent. One game was played early in the season, the other late and I don’t know anything about the Woodstock Academy. The point is, like I’ve been trying to make is, the Shoreline Conference is so good.

#5 H-K beat #12 Berlin, #4 Watertown and #16 Weston to make the finals. #3 Waterford beat #14 Holy Cross, #27 Sheehan and #2 Tolland. We will see what happens on Saturday, but the moral of the story is, the SLC is deep.

Three of eight teams playing for a girls soccer state championship are from the Shoreline. The next closest is the SCC where Branford and Guilford will play for the Class L title.

SCC volleyball preview: Lyman Hall at Mercy

Here’s the deal today. I will be going to Mercy at 5:30 for their first SCC volleyball tournament match vs. Lyman Hall. I love volleyball and it has grown on me more and more every year, but I know nothing about the Mercy team or the Southern Connecticut Conference as a whole. I have done quite a few Shoreline Conference matches, but tonight will be new for me.

Mercy (16-2) have only lost to Cheshire (20-0), the top team in the conference, both matches ended 3-0. Lyman Hall (11-7) won’t be an easy out for the Tigers tonight however. They took Amity (16-4) five sets before losing 2-3 on October 15.

This is the first meeting of the year for the two teams and I predict Mercy wins 3-0. The Tigers played only two five set matches this year and that was opening night vs. Sheehan and a week later against Foran, winning both. Mercy hasn’t lost since October 4. Mercy will cruise there way to the next round.

Following the game

I have only been interning at the Middletown Press for about a month, but I have already began to recognize high school basketball players names and take interest in their season. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like I was the only one who has no personal connections to Mercy High School, but wanted them to beat Career Magnet School tonight in the SCC tournament finals at Quinnipiac University.

I wrote a game story about Mercy a couple of weeks ago and got to talk to Maria Weselyj and Jordyn Nappi, two of their top players. I feel like I have a small bond with that team now and secretly was rooting for them tonight.

Mercy had not won the SCC tournament since 2007 and felt like they had a great opportunity to do so this year. They came into the tournament as the #2 seed with Career being #1 after the tie breakers were applied. The teams split the season series with Mercy winning on Dec. 11 64-53 at Career and when the Panthers came to Middletown on Jan. 9, they came away with a 47-40 victory.

Quarterfinals – Saturday, Feb. 16

Mercy 78, Lyman Hall 48

Career 64, Amity 45

Semifinals – Monday, Feb. 18

Mercy 60, Sacred Heart Academy 34

Career 50,  Foran 37

Mercy and Career were clearly the top two teams in the Southern Connecticut Conference heading into the finals on Wednesday and even though I could not attend the game due to class, I followed on Twitter through the hashtag #ctgb. @NHRHenryC and @Lidivision were at the game and I retweeted them while listening to my professor teach us what kind of map our next project would be about (cartography class, as I am a geography minor).

Mercy took an early 11-7 lead after one quarter and led 25-22 at halftime. I knew it would be a close game, but Mercy seemed as if they were the better team, at least that’s what the tweets led me to believe.

With 2:38 left in the third quarter, Mercy called a timeout down 34-29. This got me worried and I had a feeling it was over. After three quarters Career led 40-29 and that was it.

There is no shot clock in high school basketball so Career played keep away for the entire fourth quarter coming away with a 48-35 win and their second consecutive SCC tournament championship.

This game raised the question of why is there still no shot clock in high school basketball? Career scored 40 points in three quarters (13.3 average) and then 8 over the final 8 minutes basically running out the clock, forcing Mercy to foul the entire time.

@NHRHenryC: “Believe it or not, with basically the entire quarter to play. career is playing keep away and it’s working Mercy #ctgb is forced to foul”

@NHRHenryC: “This game was only 3 quarters. The fans didn’t get to see a fourth Smh #ctgb Career up 46-35″

@NHRHenryC: “Both teams played hard and maybe Career wins anyway but 8 minutes of keep away is straight trash #ctgb

@NHRHenryC: “Crowd screaming play basketball as Career’s Alston shakes up every Mercy defender that tried to guard her. Even made a girl fall #ctgb

You can look at this from both sides, there is no shot clock, so Career played to the rules, they got the lead and earned the right to play keep away. On the other side, that is not basketball…

@NHRHenryC: “@haleyarnaoutis they played keep away for over 3 minutes. That’s not basketball, no passing, nothing. Just one person dribbling.”

I know I would have been incredibly frustrated and mad if I was at the game, because I was feeling for the Mercy girls. They had to foul and foul hard, according to @NHRHenryC, they were in the bonus at the halfway mark of the fourth quarter, that’s not basketball. Like he said and I saw the argument other places as well, as long as there is no shot clock in high school basketball, that will always be a strategy and the teams that earns the right to do it, will always do it, especially in win or go home games. Let’s hope this doesn’t have to happen in the state tournament where Mercy has made the finals the past three seasons and are hungry as ever to win a title.