SCC Hoops: Amity trying to hold down fort

THE BOYS basketball season opener between Amity and North Haven matched two teams many thought could be sleepers in the SCC race this season. Both made SCC Tournament runs last season, and both had MVP candidates returning: Frank Suppa at North Haven and Jeremy Pleckaitis at Amity.

It was Pleckaitis who shined most in the opener, scoring 32 points in a relatively easy Spartan win.

Almost no one who was at the game noticed however a slight limp from Pleckaitis, an injury he suffered in the third quarter and played the rest of the game with.

There would be nothing slight about the injury upon further examination, a strained tendon in his left leg that has kept him out since and will keep him out for at least another week.

Fellow starter Seth Roberts is also out with a stress fracture in his leg, and the Spartans have struggled to four straight losses.

"It's a tough time of the year with the Christmas break and almost two weeks off from school," Amity coach Jeff Nielsen said. "We just have to keep plugging until we get Jeremy back."

The schedule makers have done Amity no favors in the next couple of weeks, either. Amity travels to the tiny gym at Career on Thursday and then hosts Hamden on Saturday and Wilbur Cross on Tuesday.

A 1-7 start that was not imaginable at the start of the season is staring them in the face.

But even if they stand at 1-7, all is not lost. Pleckaitis should be back in two weeks, and if Amity can battle back to 8-12 or 9-11, they will be an opponent no one at the top of the Class LL ladder wants to see in the first round of the state playoffs.

Too good for its own good-One of the concessions given to Derby to keep it in the SCC recently was to allow its basketball teams to play a non-conference schedule, not forcing them to play each team in its division twice.

But while the football team (the main reason for Derby to stay in the SCC) struggled to a 1-9 conference record, its girls basketball team has put together a pretty darn good team.

The Red Raiders have started 5-2, including a win over would-be division rival Sheehan, one of the Housatonic Division favorites this season. Led by standout guard Jamie Bartone, Derby may finish with enough wins to qualify for the SCC Tournament, but unfortunately, the Raiders aren't eligible for a division or conference championship.

So all they will able to do is buy a ticket and watch teams they have beaten battle it out, while preparing for the Class S Tournament.

The time has come for Derby and the SCC to make choice. Is Derby in or out? Career has shown itself more than capable of competing in most varsity sports, and it stands to reason they will in football soon.

So either cut ties (the NVL might be a good fit for the Red Raiders), or let Derby play a full schedule like everyone else.

Turnovers-Guilford, Hamden, and Shelton remain unbeaten in girls action this season. Looking down your schedule for a showdown? You won't find it. The three teams don't meet each other this season, victims partly of their own scheduling, and partly of the SCCs silly scheduling. For instance, Hamden plays East Haven twice, Shelton plays North Haven twice in three days, and Guilford plays Lyman Hall twice. Can we scrap one of these for a showdown game? The Elm City Newspapers' sports staff would be glad to set up the contest somewhere. Guess we can be thankful there is a conference tournament. …Shelton is the only undefeated boys team, and its girls are also unbeaten. Hamden and Guilford's two teams have combined for one loss each. At the other end of the spectrum, Amity is a combined 2-9, Lyman Hall and West Haven are each 3-9. …It took a while, but the Xavier and Hillhouse boys got their first wins of the season last week, and both were division wins. Hillhouse avenged an earlier loss to East Haven, while Xavier won at West Haven in overtime.