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Senior captain guard Sara Wohlgemuth was named the SCC Player of the Year after averaging 18 points per game in her final season with the Hand girls’ basketball team. Pictured are Tigers’ Head Coach Tim Tredwell with Wohlgemuth. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source | Buy This Photo)
Senior captain Summer Adams and the Tigers had a great campaign that featured 20 victories, a division title, and a spot in the Class L state quarterfinals before the tournament was canceled. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source | Buy This Photo)
Sophomore forward Brooke Salutari was an All-SCC First Team honoree for the Hand girls’ basketball squad in the 2019-’20 winter season. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source | Buy This Photo)
Junior guard Hadley Houghton helped the Tigers enjoyed a memorable year that saw the Tigers claim the SCC Quinnipiac Division title by going 8-0 in divisional play. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source | Buy This Photo)
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The Hand girls’ basketball team put together impressive 2019-’20 campaign by posting an overall record of 20-4, while qualifying for the State Tournament for the seventh year in a row this winter. However, Head Coach Tim Tredwell and the Tigers felt like they finished the year with some unfinished business on their plate.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic put an abrupt end to Hand’s season after the Tigers had advanced to the Class L State Tournament quarterfinals. Hand defeated South Windsor (57-34) and Wilton (47-29) in the first two rounds of the bracket and was scheduled to host East Lyme in the quarterfinals on March 12, but the rest of the tournament was canceled, as were all the other tournaments for the winter season.
“Man, I tell you, it’s really tough. I would have really liked to finish this season out, because we were peaking at the right time,” Coach Tredwell said. “All of these girls worked so hard this year, and it showed. We’ve had a 20-win season in five of the last six years, so I’m so incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made as a team.”
While his team won many more games than it lost, Tredwell said that every defeat the Tigers took served a purpose in terms of helping them progress. Even though Hand was denied the opportunity to make it back to Mohegan Sun Arena for another state final, Coach Tredwell knows that Hand still accomplished a lot throughout a memorable campaign.
“Losses are going to happen. One of our losses came against the No. 1 team in the state (Notre Dame-Fairfield], and that was a really competitive game, as well. After every loss, I feel like we rebounded well,” said Tredwell, whose team also reached the semifinals of the SCC Tournament. “We won 16 out of 17 games at one point this season, but unfortunately, that will get lost in the ether because of the virus. It’s tough for the girls. I don’t want that to be the memory these kids leave with. I want them to know that they put together a season that they should all be incredibly proud of.”
Coach Tredwell’s favorite memory of the season came when the Tigers hosted Quinnipiac Division opponent Wilbur Cross on Senior Night on Feb. 14. Hand trailed by eight points with 2:30 remaining in the game, but rallied to get a 57-51 victory that clinched the Quinnipiac title with their divisional record of 8-0.
“That game was for the division crown, so there was an added incentive to win. But this was a Wilbur Cross team that trounced us three times last year, so I was really happy to end up pulling out a win in the fashion that we did,” Tredwell said. “Multiple players made big-time plays, and that encapsulates what this program is all about. We played team-oriented basketball, and that’s how we won ballgames this year.”
Hand’s biggest contributor was senior captain Sara Wohlgemuth, who made the All-SCC First Team and also earned the conference’s Player of the Year Award for her performance this season. Wohlgemuth, a 5-foot-4 guard, averaged 18 points to go with 8.1 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 3.1 assists per game on the year. She finished third all-time in scoring for the Tigers with 1,517 career points and also tallied 518 rebounds, 349 steals, and 298 assists for her high school career.
“Sara was a once-in-a-generational type talent, and she was a rock for us. No doubt about that,” Coach Tredwell said. “The scary thing is I truly believe that she got more competitive every year that she played, and I would have liked to see it come to fruition for her in her final year. She deserves a shot to play for another state championship.”
Senior forward Summer Adams capped off a nice career with the Tigers this year. The 5-foot-10 forward had to deal with a couple of injuries, but played her best when it mattered most. Adams wound up averaging 4.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game for Coach Tredwell’s club.
“Summer had 11 points and six rebounds in that second-round win against Wilton. She was back to the Summer we all know and love, and it was huge for us,” said Tredwell. “It felt like we had all our cards on the table with her coming back healthy. Summer and Sara will be missed.”
Like Wohlgemuth, sophomore Brooke Salutari garnered All-SCC First Team accolades for Hand. Salutari, a 5-foot-10 forward, averaged 11.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.5 steals on the campaign.
Junior guard Hadley Houghton scored an average of 6.2 points a night for the Tigers. Fellow junior guard Julia Kuhn scored 4.4 points per game, and junior center Maddie Thomas averaged 2.9 points per game.
“The great thing is we have a strong core returning, but now we’re going to need to find someone who is going to guide the offense,” Coach Tredwell said. “I was really fortunate to have Sara and Gabby Martin as my point guards the past six seasons. When Sara was a freshman, Gabby pretty much handed the torch off to Sara, and we’re going to have to see who steps up into that role next year.”
Even with losing Wohlgemuth and Adams to graduation, Tredwell feels optimistic about the Tigers’ prospects for next season. One thing that gives Tredwell confidence is the fact that Hand’s JV team had a record of 18-2 this year.
“We played primarily freshman on our JV team,” said Tredwell. “For them to put together that good of record indicates to me that we’ve got a lot of potential for next year, and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”
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