Hand Girls' Hoops 6-0; Wrestling, Boys' Swimming Grab Wins
Published January 07, 2015. Last updated 03:23 p.m., January 07, 2015
Hand captured its annual Holiday Tournament with victories over Haddam-Killingworth (58-33) on Dec. 22 and Cheshire (50-32) before defeating Hamden 78-43 on the road on Dec. 30 to move to 6-0.
At Hamden, Paula Materin scored a game-high 19 points, including a trio of three-pointers. Cori Ouellette added 15 on five threes. Gege Catalano racked up 13 points and 13 rebounds while Gabby Martin and Gillian Kraemer combined to post 12 points, 10 rebounds, 16 assists, six assists, and just one turnover. Hamden came out firing with Lauren Singleton hitting four NBA-range three-pointers in the first half to keep the Green Dragons within striking distance. Factor in early foul trouble for Lauren Brandau and Catalano and Hamden went into halftime down just 34-31. The second half would be a different story as the Tigers shook off their first-half funk by ramping up the pressure and finally finding their shooting stroke. Hand would hit five from long range (Ouellette 3, Kraemer 1, Martin 1) in outscoring the Green Dragons 26-6 in the third quarter to stretch the lead to 23 heading into the final frame prior to taking the 35-point decision.
Facing HK in the tourney, Kraemer had nine points, four assists, and four steals. Cassidy Wygonik added nine points and seven boards. Catalano had eight points, four rebounds, and four steals. Martin tacked on five points, 10 boards, and two steals. Hand went to halftime up 31-13 and stretched its command to 30 heading into the final frame. With the Hand bench cleared, HK found its shooting stroke, outscoring the Tigers 15-11, but it was too little, too late as Hand coasted to a win.
Hosting Cheshire in the tournament final, Catalano led all scorers with 16 points and also compiled seven rebounds and four steals to earn Tournament MVP honors. Martin collected seven points, five rebounds, and seven steals. Wygonik reeled in a game-high eight rebounds while Ouellette and Materin combined for 17 points. Cheshire grabbed an early 5-2 lead and the Rams' zone offense kept Hand off-balance all night as the Tigers battled to control the tempo. It was nip and tuck heading into the fourth with the home team clinging to a 33-27 lead. According to Head Coach Tim Tredwell, the ball pressure of Olivia Jackson and Martin, combined with the scoring ability of Materin and Ouellette, along with the work in the trenches by Wygonik and Catalano, helped to wear Cheshire out as Hand outscored the visiting Rams 17-5 in the final frame for its first tournament title in six years.
"This was a special win for number of reasons. We have historically struggled in our own tournament. While I always felt like it helped prepare us for the postseason, it didn't make the losses hurt any less. For this group to finally notch a tournament title is a great way for them to leave another mark on this program," said Tredwell. "And once again, it was a team effort. Cassidy didn't score a lot, but her energy at the start of the fourth made a huge difference. Paula and Cori struggled from three, but they found ways to score. These kids just find a way."
Prior to that, the Tigers also knocked off North Haven 61-44 on Dec. 19 at home. Hand had four players score in double figures in Kraemer (12 points), Catalano (11), Ouellette (11), and Martin (10) while Catalano also had eight rebounds. Martin chipped in with seven steals and six assists. Ouellette, Kraemer, and Materin combined to hit seven three-pointers. Brandau grabbed 15 rebounds to go with four points, four assists, and three steals. Hand got out of the gate strong with Martin getting to the rim early and often, plus Ouellette hitting a pair of threes in the first to help the Tigers take a 16-7 lead after one. The second and third quarters played out evenly as the Indians hit the offensive boards hard, going into the fourth down just 44-37. However, North Haven ran out of gas as the Tigers outscored the Indians 17-7 in the final period on their way to victory.
Hand knocked off Fairfield Prep 44-24 at home on Dec. 29 to improve to 6-1. William Hendrick, Owen Gottlick, Ashton Gyenizs, Zakery Santoemma, Luke Bernardo, Brian McCabe, Christian Westphal, Mark Hartman, and Connor Sakmar were winners.
The Tigers had previously taken third at the RHAM Duals on Dec. 27, defeating New Britain (49-24), East Hartford (63-12), and Montville (44-35), yet falling 57-12 to Windham.
Facing New Britain, Sakmar, Charles Jensen, Adam Hendrick, Maxwell Liu, William Hendrick, Gyenizs, Santoemma, Michael Kuperstein, Chris Lecleric, and Hartman emerged victorious.
Grappling with East Hartford, Jensen, Adam Hendrick, Liu, William Hendrick, Gyenizs, Santoemma, Rex Pardales, Bernardo, Lecleric, Hartman, Sakmar, and Westphal picked up wins.
In the Montville triumph, William Hendrick, Gyenizs, Ken Farrelly, Santoemma, Lecleric, Westphal, Hartman, and Sakmar were winners. Gyenizs, Pardales, and Sakmar scored decisions.
Boys' Swimming and Diving
The Tigers went to 2-0 by defeating Shelton 91-79 on Dec. 29 at home. Hand scored event wins in the 200 medley relay (Connor Miller, Paul O' Connor, Mike Healey, and Greg Rodriguez in 1:53.92); 200 freestyle (Paul O' Connor in a time of 1:58.91); 50 free (Nicolas LaSala, 24.50); and 100 free (Rodriguez, 56.42).
The Tigers took part in the Pomperaug Invitational on Jan. 3 and finished third with a score of 129.4, just 5.3 tallies off the winning pace of New Milford (134.7).
Individual medalists were Erin Naclerio (all-around, 34.2; beam, 8.8; vault, 8.9); Becca Anderson (all-around, 31.95; beam, 8.5); Olivia Finke (bars, 7.9); and Genevieve Gellar (vault, 8.5). Additionally, Nicole Farales scored 8.4 on vault, Noelle Bergere tallied 8.0 on floor, plus Sam Mayhew earned 7.7 on floor and 7.6 on beam.