Christmas is over, Hanukkah will close tomorrow, but the holidays have not.
New Years Eve is this coming Sunday, and prior to that the rest of the state will engage in holiday basketball tournaments. Fairfield is no different, the girls’ tournament– which is named for Todd Burger the former sports editor of the Fairfield Citizen– begins tonight when Ludlowe hosts Brookfield at 5:30 p.m. Warde will play Brien McMahon immediately after with the winners playing on Thursday night at 7 p.m.
The boys tournament is arguably the best regular slate of games in the state. Prep is undefeated and the ninth-ranked team in the state according to the New Haven Register poll and ND-Fairfield is 13th according to the state’s official media poll.
But Ludlowe was the tournament champ in 2010 and Warde is just athletic enough to give the Jesuits fits in their semifinal matchup at 8 p.m. at Alumni Hall.
Let’s take a closer look.
Todd Burger Holiday Tournament
Schedule: All games at Fairfield Ludlowe. Tuesday: Brookfield (0-4) vs. Ludlowe (3-2), 5:30; Brien McMahon (2-3) vs. Warde (1-4), 20 minutes after the first game ends; Thursday: Consolation game at 5:30 and Final is at 7 p.m.
Defending Champ: Fairfield Warde beat Ludlowe 47-22 in the final.
History: The girls basketball tournament is named after the late-former Fairfield Citizen sports editor. This is its fourth year at Fairfield Ludlowe High School
The Skinny: Either Warde or Ludlowe has won this tournament every year its been played, with the Mustangs taking three of four. Ludlowe has the best record of any of the teams, so I think they’re the favorite. But Warde coach Dave Danko takes a lot of pride in winning this tournament as he and Burger were close friends. Look for the two Fairfield teams to meet in the final.
Prediction: Ludlowe over Warde, 49-44 in the final.
Fairfield Prep Holiday Tournament
Schedule: All games at Fairfield University’s Alumni Hall. Wednesday: Notre Dame (3-1) vs. Ludlowe (1-2), 6; Warde (1-2) vs. Prep (4-0), 8.
Defending Champ: Fairfield Prep beat ND-Fairfield in a thriller, 60-58 a year ago.
History: The event is now in its eighth season with all four high schools participating. Fairfield Prep has won four titles and Ludlowe has taken home three. Neither Warde nor ND-Fairfield has ever won the crown, but the Lancers have finished second three times.
The Skinny: It’s hard to bet against an ND/Prep rematch from last year. The Lancers are guard-oriented and so talented, with just a one-point loss to Kolbe Cathedral keeping them from being undefeated. Prep is undefeated, led by Terry Tarpey. Sleeper pick would be Warde, but I’m not betting on the Mustangs reaching the tourney final for the first time ever.
Prediction: ND over Prep, 65-55 in the Final.
I’ll be at all these games, so follow me on Twitter for updates. Happy holidays to you all.
Pat Pickens is the sports editor of the Fairfield Citizen, a Hearst Connecticut Newspaper organization. Follow him on Twitter here.