Hand's Onofrio Grapples to a State Title; Girls' Hoops in SCC Semis
Published February 25, 2015. Last updated 11:55 a.m., February 25, 2015
Hand came in eighth with 104.5 points for the Class L State Championship on Feb. 20 and 21 at Bristol Central. The Tigers' day was highlighted by Ben Onofrio winning a state crown at 170 by knocking off Stefan Ceconi of New Milford in an 8-2 decision in the title bout.
Also for Hand, Ashton Gyenizs (for 145) was third place by virtue of defeating New Milford's Zach Arnold 6-0 in the consolation final. At 113, Connor Sakmar fought his way to fifth, edging out John Grasis of Middletown by a 1-0 final. Liam Sullivan was also sixth in the 132 bracket, losing to Jeremy Meccariello from Bristol Eastern by forfeit in the fifth-place contest.
Hand hosted Guilford on Feb. 17 and earned a 47-31 win to conclude the regular season an impressive 18-2 (8-0 in SCC Hammonasset Division). The Tigers then opened the SCC Tournament as the No. 3 seed and defeated No. 11 Hillhouse 53-23 on Feb. 21 at Sheehan in a quarterfinal contest after a first round bye.
Versus Guilford, Gege Catalano scored a team-high 10 points. Gabby Martin added nine points, four rebounds, three steals, and two assists. Lauren Brandau chipped in six points, eight boards, and five assists. The Tigers' offense woke up in the third after clinging to a 13-12 halftime lead versus Guilford with Catalano and Brandau scoring the first eight points of the quarter for the home team. However, Guilford's Meredith Shank scored six of her nine points to help the Indians keep pace. Olivia Jackson's two jumpers late in the period pushed the Hand lead to 29-22 heading into the final frame. In the fourth, it was Martin's turn as she went on a personal 7-0 run to get the Tiger lead to 38-25. Guilford didn't get within single digits the rest of the way. A pair of consecutive three-pointers late cut the lead to 10 with fewer than two minutes to go, but Hand was able to hang on for the victory.
Against Hillhouse, Brandau led the way with 12 points while Catalano scored eight.
Hand (19-3 overall) then faced No, 10 Amity (12-10) in a semifinal on Feb. 23 and a win there would put the Tigers in the conference final on Feb. 25 at Quinnipiac University against either No. 1 seed Mercy (20-1) or No. 4 Sheehan (19-3).
The Tigers defeated Guilford 65-35 at home on Feb. 17 before also knocking off Amity at home three days later 67-58 to move to 10-8 on the year.
Against Guilford, Jeff Allen had 17 points, nine rebounds, and six assists. Pat Kerins added 13 points and five boards while Jack Driscoll and Andrew Fitzgerald each tallied eight points. Hand jumped out to an 8-0 lead and Guilford was down 15-7 after the first. The Indians continued to control the pace of play and held Hand to only five more points the rest of the half, cutting the lead to five at the break. The Tigers found their offensive rhythm early in the third and, with a balanced offensive attack, outscored the Indians 22-10 in the quarter. Behind a 45-point second-half outburst, the Tigers rolled to their ninth win of the season.
Facing Amity, Allen had a monster double-double effort with 28 points and reeling in 16 boards, plus Freund scored 13 points. After 10 minutes of play, the Tigers found themselves down 16-12 to the Spartans before Allen got the Tigers going with his second of five three-pointers on the night, scoring all eight points in an 8-0 run to give Hand the lead for good. The Tigers scored 40 points among the second and third quarters, squashing any chances Amity made to get back into the game.
Boys' Indoor Track
Hand finished tied for 29th with four points at the State Open on Feb. 21 at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven with Ian Bergere coming in fourth for the pole vault (14-0). Also placing for the Tigers was Kyle Boling (10th in pole vault at 12-0).
Girls' Indoor Track
The Tigers came in tied for 30th with four points at the State Open on Feb. 21 at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven. The 4x200 relay group of Molly Citrin, Sam Schaefer, Gabrielle Harmon, and Caroline O' Neil raced to fourth (1:49.11) for the Tigers' tallies. The 1,600 sprint medley relay of Schaefer, Harmon, Citrin, and Megan Phillips was 11th (4:26.98).
Hand edged out Fairfield Ludlowe 135.55-131.45 on Feb. 18 on Senior Night to stay unbeaten at 12-0. Abby McGuirk (9.5 on vault, 8.6 on bars, 9.0 on beam, 9.0 on floor, and 36.1 for the all-around) captured first all five events. Becca Anderson (8.55 for the beam) and Lily Spencer (8.7 on floor) nabbed runner-up spots. The Tigers made it 14-0 after a tri-meet sweep over Norwich Free Academy (132.35) and Stonington (129.05) on Feb. 19 by tallying 138.45 points. Erin Naclerio tied for the top spot on the vault (8.8) while she also prevailed in the beam (9.5). Maxwell was runner-up for the vault (8.7) and so was McGuirk on the floor (9.05).
Girls' Ice Hockey
Hand picked up two victories with a 5-0 shutout of Lauralton Hall on Feb. 11 before a 6-1 win at West Haven on Feb. 14 to improve to 5-12-1.
Against Lauralton in Kylie Gargiulo's first career shutout in net and Anna Leveroni scored while Emily Banasiak notched a pair of tallies in the first. For the third, Bradie Stryker and Kat Allen lit the lamp in the decision and Allen, Leveroni, and Lindsey Brown earned assists on the evening. The Tigers outshot the Crusaders 30-19 with Gargiulo posting 19 saves.
Facing West Haven, Hand had another strong performance from its first line of Allen, Banasiak, and Emily Soboleski, which accounted for three goals on the night. Additionally, Sarah Oswald, Stryker, and Kerstyn Perlman found the back of the net. Gargiuolo made 16 saves in the win with Hand outshooting the Blue Devils 35-17.
Hand participated in its fifth and final race of the season on Feb. 12 against Joel Barlow, Cheshire, Danbury, Darien, Fairfield, Guilford, Lauralton Hall, New Canaan, Southington, Staples, and Weston. The girls placed sixth out of eight teams in the competition with Melanie Rennie finishing fourth out of 80 participants with a time of 50.04. The boys were eighth out of 11 teams in the competition with Shane Sweitzer racing to fourth out 112 participants with a mark of 47.40.