2022 CIAC Boys Basketball State Championship Capsules

Photo of Joe Morelli
From left: East Catholic’s Allyn Wright; NDWH’s Mekhi Conner; BC’s Donovan Clingan; NWC’s MAtt Curtis; Hand’s Tyler Favre; Kolbe Cathedral’s Najimi George.

From left: East Catholic’s Allyn Wright; NDWH’s Mekhi Conner; BC’s Donovan Clingan; NWC’s MAtt Curtis; Hand’s Tyler Favre; Kolbe Cathedral’s Najimi George.

Hearst Connecticut file photos / Illustration, Sean Patrick Bowley

All games at Mohegan Sun Arena

Tickets: $10 per session (day/night). Available online (with service charge) or at arena box office.

Division I

WHO: No. 2 Notre Dame-West Haven (25-1) vs. No. 8 East Catholic (19-6)

WHEN: Sunday, 8:15 p.m.

ON THE AIR/WEB: NFHS Network (subscription required)

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Notre Dame: Bye; def. Danbury 83-53; def. Notre Dame-Fairfield 77-47; def. Windsor 60-57; East Catholic: Bye; def Farmington 57-46; def. Wilbur Cross 73-63; def. Fairfield Prep 47-40.

CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: Notre Dame is 0-3, last appearing in 2003. East Catholic is 6-7, last playing, and winning, in 2019.

KEY PLAYERS: East Catholic: James Jones, 6-4, Jr., G; Luke Reilly, 6-2, Jr., G; Allyn Wright, 5-11, So., G; Notre Dame: Mekhi Conner, 6-0, Jr., G; Timaury Gay, 6-4, Jr., G; Andrew Lazarre, 6-1, Sr.

OUTLOOK: East Catholic is playing its best basketball of the season at the most opportune time. The Eagles have gotten solid play from Jones, Wright and Reilly among others on both ends of the floor. They will need to be even better on Sunday. They will need to control tempo, shoot it well from the 3-point line and rebound. Notre Dame had to come from behind in the final minutes to beat Windsor in the semifinals. The Green Knights are going to try and speed up the game with their full-court pressure, spearheaded by Conner and Lazarre. If they can get up by double digits, it’s going to be hard for East Catholic to come back from that.


Division II

WHO: No. 1 Bristol Central (27-0) vs. No. 2 Northwest Catholic (25-2)

WHEN: Saturday, 8:15 p.m.

ON THE AIR/WEB: NFHS Network (subscription required)

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Bristol Central: Bye, Def. Amistad 65-38; def. Waterford 70-48; def. Wilton 54-52 (OT); Northwest Catholic: Bye; def. Greenwich 72-45; def. Crosby 101-63; def. Conard 62-35

CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: Bristol Central is 1-1, last playing, and winning, against St. Joseph in 1990; Northwest Catholic is 6-5, last playing in 2012, last winning in 2003 over Wilbur Cross.

KEY PLAYERS: Bristol Central: Donovan Clingan, 7-2, Sr., C; Damion Glasper, 6-0, Sr., G; Victor Rosa, Sr.; Northwest Catholic: Matty Curtis, 6-3, Sr., G; Hayden Abdullah, 6-8, Sr., F; Badare Diakite, 6-8, Fr.

OUTLOOK: This was the matchup everyone anticipated long before the CIAC pairings came out. Northwest Catholic was never able to catch Bristol Central in the second half of the CCC tournament final on March 3. The Lions are going to score points, but will they be able to defend Clingan better than last time out? No one has been able to slow the big man down — but will they try to make it a full-court game on the bigger court to tire him out? It is a senior group for the Rams. The guards know their roles and have stepped up to hit big shots at different points this season. Having played East Catholic at Mohegan can’t hurt either. This game will live up to the hype.

MORELLI’S PICK: Bristol Central.

Division III

WHO: No. 1 Kolbe Cathedral (22-3) vs. No. 3 Hand (22-4)

WHEN: Saturday, 3 p.m.

ON THE AIR/WEB: NFHS Network (subscription required)

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Hand: Bye; def. East Lyme 54-40; def. New London 64-38; def. St. Bernard 76-65; Kolbe Cathedral: Bye; def. Ansonia 56-48; def. Berlin 41-35; def. Kennedy 61-55

CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: Kolbe is 5-5, last playing, and winning, Division IV in 2018. Hand is 0-2, last appearing in 1974.

KEY PLAYERS: Kolbe Cathedral: Ty Santosl, 6-0, Sr., G; Njami George, 6-2, So., G; Eudell Mason, 6-1, Sr., G/F; Hand: Tyler Favre, 6-6, Sr., F; Hudson Geremia, 6-4, Jr., G; Chase Geremia, 6-2, Fr., G

OUTLOOK: Hand making its first trip in almost a half-century has been quite the story. The Tigers were considered an SCC contender this season and advanced to the semifinals. Hand rebounded to run through the ECC — East Lyme, New London and St. Bernard — to get to Mohegan. Tyler Favre will get a chance to matchup up against Kolbe’s group of George and Mason. The Cougars will try to keep the Geremias in check and Hand will be looking to do the same against Santos. Kolbe coach John Pfohl is going for his fourth state championship in his fourth different decade.

MORELLI’S PICK: Kolbe Cathedral.

Division IV

WHO: No. 4 Granby (21-5) vs. No. 6 Bloomfield (20-5)

WHEN: Sunday, 12:30 p.m.

ON THE AIR/WEB: NFHS Network (subscription required)

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Bloomfield: Bye; def. Bethel 76-52; def. Branford 74-55; def. Morgan 76-67; Granby: Bye; def. Cheney Tech 61-58; def. Ellington 58-49; def. Cromwell 59-48

CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: Granby is 1-1, winning in 2013 over Weaver in double overtime in Class S and falling to New Canaan in the 2019 Division IV final. Bloomfield is 5-7 in state finals, last winning in 2008.

KEY PLAYERS: Bloomfield: Lake McLean, 6-3, Sr., G; Dallas Rose, 5-10, Sr., G; Shane Bell, 5-7, Sr., G; Granby: Justin Phillips, 5-9, Sr., G; Josh Brown, 6-0, Sr., G

OUTLOOK: Major props to Granby for being able to hold Cromwell to just two points in the third quarter of Tuesday night’s semifinal. That allowed the Bears to turn around a halftime deficit and put them in control of the game. The Bears are going to need a similar defensive effort against Bloomfield, which can score in bunches, as it did against Morgan in the semifinals. The Warhawks can play almost at a breakneck pace if they choose too. Playing in the CCC has prepared Bloomfield for this run. But it will not be easy against a Bears’ program which will try to keep the Warhawks under the 73 points they scored in their regular-season meeting on Jan. 12 (73-64 Bloomfield).

MORELLI’S PICK: Bloomfield.

Division V

WHO: No. 2 SMSA (22-4) vs. No. 8 Windham (20-7)

WHEN: Saturday, 10 a.m.

ON THE AIR/WEB: NFHS Network (subscription required)

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Windham: Def. Bacon Academy 61-48; def. Stafford 57-53; def. Portland 51-49; def. Windsor Locks 53-50; SMSA: Bye; def. University 64-58; def. Achievement First 74-70 (OT); def. Capital Prep 78-71 (2 OT)

CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: This is SMSA’s first appearance in a state final. Windham’s only appearance came in 1941, a 25-24 loss to Bristol in Class L.

KEY PLAYERS: Windham: Travis Mangual, 6-3, Jr., G/F; Malcolm Hunter, 5-10, Fr., G; Isaiah Alexis Mangual, 6-5, Jr., F; SMSA: King Shaw, 6-0, Jr., G; Kemani Thompson, 5-11, Sr., G; Dan Hernandez, 5-11, Jr., G

OUTLOOK: SMSA took out the top two teams in the CRAL, needing to go to overtime to do so, first against Achievement First, then against Capital Prep in double overtime. Hernandez scored 25 points in the win for SMSA. The two-time NCCC champions lost all four of its games in February, but rebounded to get to Mohegan. At one point, Windham was 2-5, but the Whippets righted the ship, point winning 10 straight games before falling to Stonington in the ECC Division II final. And thanks to Travis Mangual’s buzzer beater in Wednesday’s semifinals, they have a shot to also win their first state championship.


—Joe Morelli