ON DECK: Spartans, Panthers gird for Round 2; Cheshire & Sheehan hockey look maintain the groove; division title on line in Wallingford swim meet; State Open looms for top wrestlers

ON DECK: Spartans, Panthers gird for Round 2; Cheshire & Sheehan hockey look maintain the groove; division title on line in Wallingford swim meet; State Open looms for top wrestlers

MERIDEN — The Lyman Hall-Sheehan basketball doubleheader is in the books. The Platt-Maloney girls game is in the books.

With the playoffs fast approaching, only a few rivalry games remain this winter season.

They both come this week, with varying imperatives at play.

On Wednesday, it’s the annual Wallingford swim meet at Sheehan. The SCC Division II championship is on the line — at least for the host Titans. Beat the rival Trojans and the Titans will defend their title.

A night earlier, on the East Side of Meriden, it’s the Platt-Maloney boys basketball finale.

The Panthers (10-9) and Spartans (9-10) are both heading to the postseason, yet both are scuffling, riding three-game losing streaks. Victory is in desparate order. One Meriden team is going to get it at the other’s expense.

Maloney took the first go-round 58-57 at Platt. The Panthers had a shot in the closing seconds only to see it kick off the rim. Tuesday’s rematch should be no less intense.

Also on Tuesday, the area’s hottest basketball team and highest scorer will be in action on the other side of Meriden. Dejuan Ransom and Wilcox Tech (14-4) take a seven-game winning streak into their final games of the regular season, both at home — North Haven on Tuesday, Wolcott Tech on Thursday.

Ransom just became Meriden’s all-time leading scorer, breaking Wilcox Tech predecessor Roosevelt Shider’s record of 1,984 on Thursday night. Two days later, on Saturday, Ransom became the first tech school player in Connecticut to go over 2,000 points.

He’s one of just 24 overall boys players to do it in state history. With 2,019 points heading into this week, Ransom currently ranks No. 22 on a list headed by Kolbe Cathedral’s Walt Luckett (2,691).

Some other names of interest on the list:

■5. Rashamel Jones, Trinity Catholic, 2,301■7. Matt Curtis, Cheshire, 2,263■11. Calvin Murphy, Norwalk , 2,192■17. Edmund Saunders, Holy Cross, 2,087■20. Mustapha Heron, Sacred Heart, 2,056

It will be fun watching Ransom’s climb up the ladder as a busy boys basketball postseason plays out on the local front. All but one of the area’s seven teams have qualified.

The one team to fall short was Lyman Hall (6-13). The Trojans look to finish strong at home Monday night against Branford.

Southington (12-7), looking to rebound after seeing its seven-game streak end in Friday’s 49-40 loss in Cheshire, completes the regular campaign Monday at Northwest Catholic.

Cheshire, also 12-7, wraps its up at home tonight vs. West Haven. Sheehan (12-8) already has its regular season in the books.

All six local qualifiers will play in both conference and state tournaments. For the CCC and SCC teams, the conference show opens Thursday night at higher seeds.

The area girls basketball teams will be strictly in practice mode this week, gearing up for the state tournament, which opens next Monday and Tuesday for Sheehan, Lyman Hall, Cheshire and Platt.

By week’s end, the hockey regular season will be wrapped up.

With each passing game down the stretch, Cheshire looks stronger and stronger. Sheehan, too.

The Rams, winners of four straight and 7-1-1 in their last nine games following Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win over Amity, have risen to No. 4 in the CIAC Division II power points at 12-4-1.

Cheshire travels up to Avon Old Farms on Monday night to take on reigning D-II state champ Farmington Valley.

Meanwhile, in Division III, Sheehan stands at 13-4-1 and No. 3 in the playoff points after Saturday’s 5-1 dismantling of the Lyman Hall Co-op. The Co-op (12-6-0) still ranks above Sheehan at No. 2, but Saturday night marked its third straight defeat.

The Trojans were hoping to shake that skid Sunday night back at Northford Ice Pavilion against JBWA. They close out Saturday, also at home, against the East Haven Co-op.

Sheehan takes a four-game win streak into Wednesday’s home date at Choate against Housatonic. Then comes Saturday night’s showdown with Daniel Hand, the top team in Division III, at Northford immediately after the LH/EH game.

For the other winter sports, the postseason pendulum is in swing.

Top wrestlers from the class tournaments descend on the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven on Friday and Saturday for the State Open. There are 14 area qualifiers led by Class LL champs Jacob Cardozo (145 pounds) and Billy Carr (170) of Southington, Class L runner-up Nik Debaise of Maloney (182) and Class M runner-up James Rondini of Platt (120).

Also on Saturday, Sheehan hosts the SCC diving championships, giving three-time state class champ Andrew Buehler a chance to shine off his home board, and the Southington gymnastics team heads to Jonathan Law in Milford for the CIAC Class L Championships.

The Lady Knights just hosted the Central Connecticut Conference Invitational and posted their best-ever team score at the event with a 126.800. Southington sophomore Natalie Reeves was the all-around individual champion at 35.250.

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