Favorites: Nonnewaug, Thomaston, Housatonic Valley
Players to watch: Sydney Segalla, Jr, C, Housatonic Valley; Ashley Hennessey, Sr., G, Nonnewaug; Brooke Donaghey, Sr., G, Shepaug Valley; Emma Kuhn, Sr., G, Thomaston
Outlook: After Thomaston’s run of four-straight Berkshire League titles, three different teams have won the league in Northwestern, Housatonic and Nonnewaug. The odds are in the favor of one of the previous four champions lifting the trophy again. The league is traditionally top-heavy and this year should be no different.
CENTRAL CONNECTICUT CONFERENCE
2019-20 champion: E.O. Smith
Favorites: E.O. Smith, Newington, East Hartford
Players to watch: Azaiyah Felder, Sr., G, Conard; Lily Ferguson, Jr. G, Newington; Taylor Golembiewski, Sr. G, E.O. Smith; Tyah Pettaway, Jr. G, Middletown; Shailyn Pinkney, Jr., G, East Hartford
Outlook: There is ridiculously good talent across the board in the CCC. That should translate into quality games though not all of the top players will get a chance to play against each other in the regular season. E.O. Smith has won back-to-back tournament titles, battling as the No. 14 seed last year to take it all. Can they three-peat? Won’t be easy. Watch out for East Hartford, which nearly upset Newtown in last year’s Class LL tournament and might have the best player in the state in Pinkney as well as Hofstra-bound Jaida Robinson.
CAPITOL REGION ATHLETIC LEAGUE
2019-20 champion: Parish Hill
Favorites: Parish Hill, Aerospace
Players to watch: Kaysie Dupuis, Sr., G, Parish Hill; Emma Anderson, Sr., G, Parish Hill;
Outlook: The old story is, teams from the CRAL may do well in the regular season but come tournament time, they fold. That was not the case last year as Parish Hill made a run to the quarterfinals of the Class S state tourney before the season was cut short. It was the first appearance of the Pirates in the state quarterfinals since 1987. Parish is once again the favorite, but could be challenged by an improved Aerospace team.
CONNECTICUT TECHNICAL CONFERENCE
2019-20 champion: Bullard-Havens
Favorites: Bullard-Havens, Abbott Tech
Players to watch: Rachel Heaney, Sr., F, Wolcott Tech; Abigail Williams, Jr., C, Wolcott Tech; Contessa Davis, Sr., G, O’Brien Tech; Grace Olden, Sr., G, Cheney Tech
Outlook: Though Abbott Tech had a stellar regular season going 19-1, it was bounced from the CTC tournament in the semifinals by Bullard-Havens, who were on their way to winning their third-straight league tournament. The league is in flux this season due to COVID-19 and the spread out geography of the league but, for now, each team has a slate of 12 games against conference opponents.
EASTERN CONNECTICUT CONFERENCE
2019-20 champion: D-1 NFA; D-2 Killingly
Favorites: NFA, New London, Bacon Academy
Players to watch: Jenissa Varela, Sr., G, NFA; Milly Walker, Jr, F, Waterford; Maya Hillman, Jr., C, Montville; Jayden Burns, Sr., G, New London; Marissa Nudd, So., G, Bacon Academy
Outlook: Nothing new in the ECC, but it is once again top heavy. The three top teams NFA, New London and Bacon Academy all would have been considered state-title contenders this season if there were state titles. Either New London or NFA has won the ECC D-1 title the past seven seasons. This could be the year Bacon breaks that trend after losing in the tournament final the previous two seasons.
FAIRFIELD COUNTY INTERSCHOLASTIC ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
2019-20 champion: Ridgefield
Favorites: Trumbull, Ridgefield, Ludlowe, Danbury
Players to watch: Cassi Barbato, Sr. G, Trumbull; Katie Flynn, Sr., G/F, Ridgefield; Anna Paulmann, Sr., F, Ludlowe; Kianna Perry, Jr. G, Danbury; Marley Lopez-Paul, Sr., F, Staples
Outlook: It is never easy in the FCIAC, but this season the water is particularly deep. Along with the top four mentioned above, Stamford, St. Joseph’s, Warde, Staples and Greenwich will all be tough to deal with. Ridgefield came out of nowhere to win the conference tournament last season. Who will make a run this year? The key for the top four is experience and lots of it. All of those teams have battle-tested upperclassmen ready to leave their mark. Any upstart hoping to crash the party will need to overcome a lot.
NAUGATUCK VALLEY LEAGUE
2019-20 champion: Holy Cross
Favorites: Holy Cross, St. Paul, Seymour
Players to watch: Cayla Howard, Jr., G, Holy Cross; Mikayla Walton, So., G, Oxford; Kiley Drezek, Sr., G, Seymour; Krystalee Fernandez, Sr. G, Ansonia; Jynia Gibbs, Sr, G, Wilby
Outlook: Another conference that is traditionally top heavy should play the same way this time around. Holy Cross has won the league tournament 10 times since 2006 with St. Paul grabbing two titles in that time. Seymour has the talent with four returning seniors, including guard Mackenzie Sirowich who missed last season with an injury.
NORTH CENTRAL CONNECTICUT CONFERENCE
2019-20 champion: Canton
Favorites: Windsor Locks, Suffield, Ellington
Players to watch: Jess Hanrath, Sr., G, Coventry; Katie Blume, Jr., F, East Windsor; Lindsey Laughlan, Sr., F, Ellington; Ava Mills, Sr., G, Suffield; Alana Picard, Jr., G, Windsor Locks
Outlook: Canton had as good of a two-year run in the NCCC as you can have, but graduation has brought them back to earth. Runner-up Suffield, Ellington and Windsor Locks all bring back a plethora of starters. Coventry could be the dark horse here with seven players over 5-foot-7 and both of its leading scorers back in sophomore Charlotte Jordan and senior Jess Hanrath.
SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT CONFERENCE
2019-20 champion: Hamden
Favorites: Sheehan, East Haven
Players to watch: Caitlyn Hunt, Sr. C, Sheehan; Taylor Salato, Sr., F, East Haven; Brooke Salutari, Jr. G, Hand; Amani Abuhatab, So., F, West Haven; Carina Ciampi, Jr., G/F, Sacred Heart Academy; Eveani Okwuosa, Jr., G, North Haven
Outlook: East Haven has reached three-straight SCC championship games, but it has been Hamden taking home back-to-back titles. East Haven has the players to get back, but there are plenty of pitfalls in the conference. Last year, Sacred Heart Academy snuck up on everyone and is back this year and even better. Hillhouse, West Haven, Hand and others will make some noise in an always unpredictable league. Sheehan looks to be the team to beat with six seniors that have been playing together since elementary school. Watch out for Mercy to rally after a couple of down years by their high standards.
2019-20 champion: East Hampton
Favorites: East Hampton, Morgan
Players to watch: Jessica Berens, Sr. C, Coginchaug; Catie Donadio, Sr. G, Morgan; Angela Mercaldi, Sr. G, East Hampton; Likhita Chanda, Sr., G, Cromwell
Outlook: The big news last year out of the Shoreline was Cromwell not winning the tournament after winning five of the previous six. This year, Cromwell looks to be going young with a slew of sophomores. East Hampton had a stellar season and brings back a solid core from that championship team. The league features some All-State caliber players led by 6-foot-4 Coginchaug center Jessica Berens.
2019-20 champion: Notre Dame-Fairfield
Favorites: Notre Dame-Fairfield
Players to watch: Aizhanique Mayo, Jr. F, Notre Dame-Fairfield; Mishell Pringle, Sr., G/F, Kolbe Cathedral; Ciara Brown, Jr., G, Kolbe Cathedral; Mac Stone-Folmar, Sr., G, Notre Dame-Fairfield; Julia Gerace Sr. F, Newtown
Outlook: Notre Dame lost two key players to transfer, one of which (Brown) is now at Kolbe. No matter, the Lancers are still not only the team to beat in the SWC, but in the state. Newtown lost a lot to graduation but will still be in contention. The question will be, can anyone in the league knock off Notre Dame? Kolbe hopes it can with Brown and Pringle in the backcourt but the depth of Notre Dame is an underrated asset and hard to overcome with waves of good players coming off the bench.
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