Hand Girls' Hoops in SCC Semis
Published February 26, 2014. Last updated 03:55 p.m., February 25, 2014
Hand (108.5 points) finished eighth in the Class L State Championship on Feb. 21-22 at Bristol Central. The Tigers also claimed a solo state title with Ashton Gyenizs defeating Dylan Bender of Fairfield Warde by an 8-4 decision in the 138-pound weight class.
Ben Onofrio (160) finished runner-up after a tough 2-1 tie-break decision versus Farmington's Harry Pacheco and Hand also had two sixth-place finishers in Owen Gottlick (145) and Justin Dwyer (195). Other combatants were Connor Sakmar (106; going 2-2), Francis Regala (113; 1-2), Lucas Mendicino (120; 2-2), Liam Sullivan (126; 2-2), Kevin Mallon (132; 3-2), Zakery Santoemma (152; 1-2), Luke Bernardo (170; 1-2), Logan Blumenthal (182; 0-1), and Tyler Michaud (220; 0-1).
Hand opened the SCC Tournament as the No. 5 seed at home against East Haven on Feb. 20 and scored a 49-32 win before a thrilling 63-61 quarterfinal victory over Lyman Hall on Feb. 22 on a Lily Taylor three-pointer.
Facing the Yellowjackets, Gege Catalano scored 15 points and grabbed 15 rebounds while Cassidy Wygonik posted 11 points and 15 rebounds. Lauren Brandau chipped in with six points, nine rebounds, and five steals and Gillian Kraemer went 10-of-10 from the foul line for 12 points to go with a pair of assists.
The Tigers then faced top-seeded Mercy on Feb. 24 in the semifinal round and a win there would have put Hand in the championship game at Quinnipiac University on Feb. 26.
Hand (14-6) finished with its best regular season mark in five years thanks to a pair of wins at Xavier (59-47) on Feb. 17 and a Senior Night 60-39 decision over Amity four days later.
Against Xavier, Brendan Hughes had 19 points and nine rebounds while Griffin Wray added 18 points and snared seven rebounds.
Facing Amity, Hand honored seniors Scott Braren, Phillip Crampton, Andre Frederick, Hughes, Sam Jablonski, Christian Koshgarian, Asa Palmer, and Wray. Palmer had 16 points and 14 boards, plus Hughes chipped in with 11 points and Jack Driscoll grabbed 15 rebounds. With a first round bye, the Tigers now begin the SCC Tournament on Saturday, March 1 at Branford in the quarterfinal round. The semifinals are on Monday, March 3 at East Haven and the final is at Quinnipiac University on Wednesday, March 5 at 7 p.m.
Both squads took part in the State Open Championship on Feb. 17 at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven with the boys finishing 28th (7 points) and the girls coming in 31st (5 points).
In the 55 dash, Caroline O' Neil was fourth (7.35) while the 1,600 sprint medley team of Sam Schaefer, Emily Shafer, Lauren Brady, Justine Griffin, Kathryn Phillips, and Madeline Yaggi was sixth (4:26.29). On the boys' side, all of its points came in the pole vault with Ian Bergere (3rd, 13-6) and Rich Sangster (6th, 12-6).
The Tigers scored 136 points to best Fairfield Ludlowe (132.05) on Feb. 21 to improve to 17-1. Scorers included Stefani Taschner (36.6 all-around, 9.5 on vault, 9.4 for bars, 9.2 for floor), Kendall Jerzyk (34.4 all-around, 9.0 on vault, 9.5 on the floor), and Abby McGuirk (9.3 on bars).
Hand raced on Feb. 12 and the girls placed third with Carly Fischer finishing second on a time of 47.46 while Melanie Rennie was third (47.57), followed by Caitlyn Harvey (13th, 49.21). The boys finished fifth with Ethan Wilson ninth (45.09), then Stefan Pellitier (10th, 45.34) and Ryan Garb (33rd, 48.81). For the first time in the program's history, both squads finished over .500 to qualify for the State Team Open on Thursday, February 27 at Mt. Southington.