Boys basketball: Foran, Law, competing in new divisions

The Foran High and Jonathan Law boys basketball teams compete for spots in the state tournament in new divisions that were designed by the CIAC for the upcoming season.

The CIAC Board of Control voted to approve the proposal that will feature five divisions for this upcoming season. It is a one-year trial format.

Every team in Division I will qualify for the state tournament, regardless of record.

There are at least 39 teams in each of the other four divisions. Teams must win at least 40 percent of its games to qualify for the postseason. The committee has done away with “filling the brackets” for teams with six or seven victories.

Foran, previously in Class L, and Law, in Class M, will now be in Division IV.

“I feel there is a balance of power in each respective division,” said Foran head coach Ian Fitzpatrick, whose Lions finished out of the playoffs a year ago with a 5-15-record. “Being in Division IV there will be plenty of parity and competition for the teams that qualify for the postseason. I think trying out the new format for one year will be good for high school basketball across the board.”

Jonathan Law is coming off a 2-18 campaign.

I feel that the change in divisions is fair and appropriate given where the program has been,” said Jaime Anderson, who has taken over head coaching duties at his alma mater this season. “If we, as coaches and student/athletes perform to our capabilities, there will be more changes down the road.”

Teams were placed in the five divisions on the basis of enrollment, the power point system the CIAC employs (determined by sum of wins of opponents they defeated over the past three seasons), postseason success for both league and state tournaments and the overall strength of the conference a team plays in.

Shelton High head coach Brian Gardiner said, “Stratford was in L and is now in Division III. That makes sense considering that after you take out the twenty one schools that are now in Division I, it looks like Division II is mainly LL schools. Division III is mostly L schools, etc. Based on what I see, Stratford is properly placed. Bunnell is also Division III. As for us, our goals (berths in the SCC and state tourney) are the same.”

Bunnell coach Pat Yerina said, “We have always been an L school. Looking at Division III I see some of the same schools. I think the CIAC is trying to level the playing field. At Bunnell, we have always scheduled top teams in the area and like tough competition. Being in Division III doesn't change our approach. We will try to improve all season and hope to be playing our best basketball come tournament time.”

Input from its member schools helped shape the original proposal, created more than a year ago, leading to the vote by the Board of Controls after the boys committee voted unanimously for it.

"This new format is the result of a lot of hard work from members of our boys basketball committee and aims to address the concerns we've heard from our membership about inequity challenges specific to the boys basketball tournament," CAS-CIAC executive director Karissa Niehoff said in a press release.

"CIAC is grateful for the feedback and participation of the CHSCA and CAAD, along with all our member schools in vetting this proposal and we look forward to its implementation and an exciting boys basketball tournament."

Division IV teams, along with Foran, Law and Platt Tech, are Ansonia, O’Brien Tech, Bullard Havens, Lewis Mills, Bacon Academy, Abbott Tech, Valley Regional, Coginchaug, Ellington, Granby Memorial, Griswold, Grasso Tech, Classical Magnet (Hartford), SMSA (Hartford), University School (Hartford), Haddam-Killingworth, Ellis Tech, Wilcox Tech, Vinal Tech, Goodwin Tech, Amistad Academy (New Haven), Creed (New Haven), Norwich Tech, Plainfield, Plainville, Rocky Hill, Seymour, AAE (Windsor), Stonington, Suffield, St. Bernard, Rockville, Kaynor Tech, Windham, Windham Tech, Northwestern (Winsted) and Nonnewaug.

The Foran High and Jonathan Law boys basketball team will face ne