When we left FCIAC boys basketball, Ridgefield was defeating rival Wilton for the championship in a double-overtime thriller at Alumni Hall.
It was an all-time classic, launching itself into the pantheon of FCIAC finals for the ages.
Want an encore?
Wilton should be right back near the top of the pack and Ridgefield returns one of the league’s best players and will contend again.
PLAYERS TO WATCH BY TEAM
BRIDGEPORT CENTRAL: Raj Walker, DJ Fulton, Raquan Riley
DANBURY: Cam Snow, Denali Burton, Javon Hernandez, Diante Vines, Jordan Brown, Keon Moore
DARIEN: Jack Tierney, Andrew Darby, Will Rolapp, Ryan Darby, Justin Jordan
GREENWICH: Elias Gianopoulos, Matt Robbins, Dan Wurst, Charlie Zeeve, Christian Rogers, Oliver Milledge
LUDLOWE: Ty Stapleton, Jadyn Tabois, James Bourque, Christian Peterson, Jeff Meyers, Cooper Nielsen
McMAHON: Saikwon Williams, Xavier Rojas, Latrel Stewart, Justin Forde, Kelete Sherald
NEW CANAAN: Jack Sloane, Alex Galvan, Cam Nelson, Jack Richardson, Matt Brand, Luke Rwambuya, Alex Gibbons
NORWALK: Zaire Sellers, Joey Benincaso, Conner Mastropietro, Jadyn Grant
RIDGEFIELD: Brenden McNamara, Luke McGarrity, James St. Pierre, Jackson Mitchell, Alex Price, Ryan Malley
ST. JOSEPH: Gavin Greene, Paul Fabbri, Jared Grindrod, Danny Tobin, Brian Dineen, Ian Argento, Will Diamantis
STAMFORD: Tevin St. John, Jelani Jackson, Josh Thervil, Lovell Staton
STAPLES: Max Sussman, Ben Pearl, Luke Murphy, Dylan Ward, Aj Konstanty, Evan Vishno
TRINITY CATHOLIC: Stephon McGill, Cam Blake, Dutreil Contavio, Dimitry Moise, Rash Constant, Jack Soucy
TRUMBULL: Chris Brown, Evan Gutowski, Timmond Williams, Quentar Taylor, Cape Holden, Jack Therriault
WARDE: Sean Conway, Malcolm Brune, Matt Becker, Dan Fitzpatrick, Ethan Wolf, Chris Bogan, Matt Houghton, Nick Crescione
WESTHILL: Sam Lombino, Chris Kopec, D’aeren Carson, Jack Schlachtenhaufen
WILTON: Scott Cunningham, Kyle Shifrin, Kyle Mattallah, Robbie Hermann, Nick Kronenberg, Kyle Phillips, Antonio Brancato
Waiting to make their own magic, Trinity Catholic and Danbury come into the season with all eyes on them as they look to retake the throne they have been off for longer than each would like.
For the Hatters, it has been since 1992 since they were FCIAC champs, despite having been very close the last two seasons. Will this finally be their year?
While Trinity and Danbury are preseason darlings, nothing can be taken for granted in FCIAC boys basketball.
TEAMS TO WATCH
DANBURY: Every FCIAC coach you ask immediately mentions Danbury as the top team in the league, and it is easy to see why. Three starters are back in Cam Snow, Denali Burton and Javon Hernandez, with several other talented players ready to step up. The Hatters have size and solid guard play and will get after teams defensively.
TRINITY CATHOLIC: The Crusaders will be looking to avenge their loss in the FCIAC quarterfinals from a season ago and are loaded with the talent to do it. Bringing back four starters — Dutreil Contavio, Dimitry Moise, Stephon McGill and Cam Blake — from the Class S championship team, Trinity has the pieces to win its first FCIAC title since 2008.
WILTON: The FCIAC runners-up from last season come back perhaps even stronger than a season ago. The Warriors are hoping to be 12-14 players deep. Warde transfer Antonio Brancato will join an already talented group including Kyle Matallah, Kyle Shifrin and Scott Cunningham, among many others. Wilton loves to run and put up 3s, which means the Warriors will live and die by the deep ball.
WARDE: Off-the-court issues derailed a potentially special season for Warde last year. This season, the Mustangs bring back a deep roster of talented players and should be in the championship mix come late February. Sean Conway is one of the best players in the state. He will be joined by four-year starter Malcolm Brune and a bevy of other seniors and juniors.
RIDGEFIELD: Sleep on the defending champions at your own risk. Brenden McNamara is one of the best players to ever put on a Ridgefield uniform and if he stays healthy, he would love to prove it. The Tigers have solid guards in Luke McGarrity and James St. Pierre and a big body in the middle in junior Jackson Mitchell.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
BRENDEN MCNAMARA, RIDGEFIELD: Despite missing nearly half the season with an injury, McNamara averaged 16 points and 8 rebounds a game. The 6-foot-3 senior does it all: scoring and rebounding inside, handling the ball, driving to the basket and draining 3s from the outside.Read Full Article
DUTREIL CONTAVIO, TRINITY CATHOLIC: The dynamic forward was All-FCIAC first team and New Haven Register third-team All-State. At 6-6, Contavio is a matchup nightmare for most of the teams. He can score around the basket and jump out of the gym, blocking shots and snagging rebounds. He averaged a double-double with 16.8 points and 12.3 rebounds per game.
SEAN CONWAY, WARDE: The All FCIAC first-teamer averaged 18 points and 7 rebounds a game a season ago. Perhaps the best pure scoring threat in the FCIAC and an all-state caliber talent. At 6-4, he can take the ball to the basket off the dribble against anyone and possesses excellent court vision, giving him the ability to find the open man off double teams. And oh, by the way, he has deep range from beyond the arc.
DENALI BURTON, DANBURY: Burton might be the league’s fiercest player inside. At 6-4 he can throw it down, is a monster blocking shots and a rebound machine. He can also put it on the floor occasionally, taking players off the dribble from the outside.
TIMMOND WILLIAMS, TRUMBULL: Williams leads a young group of starters on the floor for the Eagles. The 6-3 junior can handle the ball, shoot from outside, go inside to score and is a tenacious rebounder. He could be the league’s breakout player this winter.
GAMES TO WATCH
JAN. 17, LUDLOWE AT TRUMBULL: Both teams are young, and early in the year will be figuring some things out. This matchup will be a good measuring stick.
JAN. 30, RIDGEFIELD AT WILTON: Double OT in the FCIAC final, a packed house whenever they play. Right now, this is the best rivalry in FCIAC basketball, and it is not even close.
FEB. 6, DANBURY AT TRINITY CATHOLIC: The two league favorites coming into the year tangle as the season turns into the home stretch. Lots of big bodies will be banging around in this one.
FEB. 9, NORWALK AT STAMFORD: Both teams are traditional FCIAC powers and both may be ready to get back to relevance after down seasons.
FEB. 21, WARDE AT RIDGEFIELD: By the final day of the season, these two may already be locked into playoff spots, but that will not diminish what should be a great finale for the campaign.