By Liv Preneta & Chris Solomon

Year after year, many small town sports teams enter the annual state championship, sponsored by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC). The conference is split into many divisions based on school size and class enrollment; however, occasionally there is one team that is so dominant over the other teams in the division, the tournament is thought of as unfair due to the makeup of some of the teams.

More often than not, there are many Catholic schools (schools that are able to scout players from multiple towns to build on their team’s talent) that get placed in the smallest class  (Class S) due to low enrollment and repeatedly win an easy championship. Though after a team wins a state championship in Class S they generally move up to Class M, there are still a multitude of Catholic schools that now have an opening to make a state tournament run.

For example, the Class S boys basketball championship is comprised of 32 teams, and although 27 of these schools are tech schools and public schools, there are five programs (including St. Paul Catholic and Trinity Catholic) who are way too talented to be playing in such a small division.

Back in 2014, three small Shoreline teams (Valley, East Hampton, and Westbrook) all had a chance to make a sizable run in the Class S boys basketball state championship, but they all were stopped short by incorrectly placed teams (Wesbrook lost to Immaculate 51-74, East Hampton to Sacred Heart 62-64, and Valley to Sacred Heart 56-65). If all of these teams were put in a larger class such as L or LL, based on the reasoning that they can pull from multiple towns, there would be more opportunity for many small town teams.

In the basketball season of 2015-16, the Devils took on Immaculate High School in the Class S State Championship. Despite the Devils’ tough fight they played throughout each quarter, they fell short to Immaculate by 10 points.

Walter -Kyle- Wyskiel (1)“I wouldn’t have traded our team for any other team in the state, ” commented former varsity starter Kyle Wyskiel (‘16). The CRHS boys basketball team is known for forming a brotherhood, and although they are not able to scout the biggest and the best players from the state, their success and hard work has shown that they can go much farther with chemistry than just simply talent.

Although Coginchaug continued to hold their heads high, some might comment that it was not necessarily fair that Immaculate was in the Class S tournament to begin with. Unlike Immaculate, Coginchaug sports teams consist of players from Durham and Middlefield, whereas Immaculate is able to scout players from multiple towns strictly to play basketball

Another issue that stems from the organization of the tournament is moving a school up to Class M due to a championship win in Class S. This has faulty reasoning because the seniors graduate, and a new team is playing in the tournament the following year.

A possible solution to this issue would be to have separate state tournament brackets, still consisting of the four classes (S, M, L, and LL) but also adding brackets for tech schools and religious institutions. Having tournaments organized in this manner allows every team a fair chance at gold and does not put any team at a great disadvantage.



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