By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – The Bristol Central boys basketball team officially learned its postseason fate on Wednesday, March 4 and the outstanding squad was ranked fourth in the CIAC Division II field.
And opponents need to be placed on high alert because each and every team that defeated the Rams this past regular season are in the Division I bracket.
The race for a state title is on for the Bristol Central boys basketball program.
Round one, which commenced on Tuesday, March 10, saw the locals square off against Bunnell of Stratford from the Charles C. Marsh Gymnasium in Bristol.
The Rams (17-5) would have earned a bye into the postseason had the Bulldogs (8-12) not beaten Newtown (57-51) in its final game of the season.
But the contest allowed Central to keep playing, continue to compete and earn its way into second round play.
If the contingent from Bristol continues to win, the locals won’t be leaving the confines of the Charles C. Marsh Gymnasium until the semifinal round.
Central had a chance to battle the winner of No. 13 Xavier (13-7) and No. 20 McMahon (9-9) and if the Rams were successful in the second round, a quarterfinal date with the likes of No. 5 Holy Cross (15-5), No. 12 Amistad (13-7) or even No. 21 Waterford (9-11) were all in play.
Waterford is the defending CIAC Division II champion.
That quarterfinal appearance takes place on March 16.
Advancement from that showdown leads to a neutral site for the semifinal round and a possible contest against No. 1 Prince Tech.
Tech earned a bye this year along with Naugatuck Valley League participant Naugatuck (No. 2, 19-1) and No. 3 Innovation (17-3).
Central easily defeated Innovation back on January 15 in a 52-16 romp from New Britain and then dropped No. 7 Middletown (15-5) by a 70-59 final on February 6.
The Rams are looking to keep that perfect Division II streak on the line, hoping to run the table for the program’s first state title since 1990.
Central is 1-1 in championship games over its history with both contests coming over a four year period that saw the likes of Martin and Malcolm Huckaby leading the program.
And as always, the CIAC state championship round takes place from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville.
All five boys titles will be decided over March 21-22.