Who will raise the SWC championship banner on the boys' hardwood at the end of this season?
It's been either Bunnell (last year's champ) or Notre Dame for each of the last seven years.
Everybody is in contention at least at the beginning. And there will be at least the eight SWC playoff qualifiers in the mix come late February and early March.
It is possible there will be more parity this year with Bunnell standout Max Edwards among a group of key players who transferred to private schools, not to mention graduation changing the landscape on the court as always. But you have to go back to 2014 to find at least one finalist not named Bunnell, Notre Dame, or Immaculate. Kolbe Cathedral fell to Bunnell that year.
SWC Sports Zone caught up with Brookfield Coach John Fleming for an outlook on the upcoming season.
"I think the usual suspects (Immaculate and Notre Dame) are the favorites again this year but there may be some other teams that have a say in it as well. I expect a few of the teams that have struggled a bit the last few years to take some big steps forward," Fleming anticipates.
Immaculate reached last year's Division I state playoff semifinals, Bunnell got to the D-II quarters, and New Milford was in the D-III quarters. It remains to be seen what kind of noise the SWC makes at the state level, but it is sure to be a grind day in and day out for many of the teams as they play out the regular slate.
"The SWC is always humbling. You can’t get fooled by records because every coach has their team well prepared for the moment. At Brookfield, every game is of equal importance to us. As long as we follow our process, work as a team and have some fun I believe we will be competitive this year again," said Fleming, whose team went 12-8 during the regular slate last winter.
Brookfield lost eight seniors, including a trio of captains, from last year's lineup.
"We will have some growing pains as we gain some varsity experience but the challenge is what makes it exciting," Fleming said.
Coach Fleming's top players from around the SWC:
Bethel: Dylan Breeland, Luke Lacey
Brookfield: Steven Cioffi, Harry Albanese
Bunnell: Tyler Staggs-Burgess
Immaculate: Sean Guiry, Joey Rios
Joel Barlow: Tom Richetelli, Clark Gilmore
Kolbe Cathedral: Tyrell Staples-Santos
Masuk: Jake Rosati, Mateo Esmeraldo
New Fairfield: Jayden Racca
New Milford: Johnny Fitzmaurice
Newtown: Riley Ward, Jack Peterson
Notre Dame: Max Mitchell, Cape Holden
Pomperaug: Dion Zhuta
Stratford: Joey August,
Weston: Jake Jones, James Goetz