New Fairfield's Matt Langdon beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer to lift New Fairfield's boys' basketball team to a dramatic 59-57 win over Joel Barlow on January 10.
This was one of many thrilling finishes around the SWC already this winter, and we've just now entered into the heart of the conference schedule.
Parity rules in the SWC.
As Newtown Coach Tim Tallcouch puts it: “On any given night in the SWC anybody can beat anybody.”
Here is a little sampling of what has transpired on the boys' and girls' hardwood around the SWC in the early going (not including some wild finishes in tilts against non-conference teams) and a look at some games to watch (all are 7 pm starts unless noted):
The New Fairfield Rebels like late heroics. The Rebels went down to the wire and beat Brookfield by two points on a Nick Dimyan shot in the final seconds.
New Milford handed Masuk its first, and to this point only, loss — and did so in convincing fashion. The teams will meet again, this time in Monroe, in a Jan 31 showdown.
Before then, there are plenty of potentially exciting games on tap. Masuk hosts Weston on January 16 (the Trojans are coming off an overtime victory over Kolbe Cathedral). Masuk then entertains Immaculate on January 21. Immaculate, unbeaten since a season-opening defeat to Danbury, visits New Fairfield on January 16.
Barlow has been involved in some close ones. including a two-point win over Pomperaug and one-point nail-biting victory over Brookfield, plus that New Fairfield heart-breaker. The Falcons host Stratford on January 16; Stratford is coming off a six-point win over Notre Dame.
Notre Dame beat Bunnell by one point in an earlier meeting and hosts the Bulldogs on January 21. Bunnell has been competitive, falling to Bethel and Masuk each by just four points.
Brookfield, which edged Bethel by four, hosts New Milford on January 17. Newtown hosts Bethel January 16 and visits Barlow on January 21.
Immaculate has blown out most teams but beat Brookfield and New Milford each by just eight. Immaculate faces Brookfield one more time, February 18 on the road. Immaculate hosts Kolbe January 23, visits Barlow February 1 (at 3 pm) and visits Newtown February 4. Masuk is home to Newtown February 11 in what looks on paper to be another of those to watch.
New Fairfield hosts Immaculate January 16 and hosts New Milford February 11 and Barlow in a rematch on February 14.
Notre Dame, defending champ Newtown and Pomperaug, along with last year's runner-up Bethel and perennial power Kolbe, are widely viewed as the toughest teams in the conference.
Newtown fought past Pomperaug, 52-48, on January 14. Pomperaug hosts Notre Dame on January 17.
In a rematch of last year's final, Newtown is at Bethel on January 16 (6 pm start). Another to circle on the schedule is Notre Dame at Newtown on January 23.
Much like the boys, there is plenty of parity throughout the girls' field in the conference. That has been the case each year with six different champions each of the last half-dozen years.
There have been close games for the girls, including Brookfield (3-1 in SWC thus far) beating Barlow by three and New Fairfield by four, and falling to New Milford by four. New Milford beat Barlow by a point. Bethel edged Kolbe by just two.
Kolbe's schedule toughens up again in February. In fact, the last three games on the slate are against Notre Dame (February 11 at home), Newtown (February 14 on the road) and Pomperaug (February 18 on the road). Talk about a tough finish to the campaign (and a good playoff tuneup).