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Hand dropped a 58-48 decision at Hillhouse on Dec. 30 before knocking off previously unbeaten Guilford, 43-38 at home on Jan. 4 to move its record to 4-2 (1-1 in the SCC Hammonasset Division).
The Tigers opened up divisional play against Hillhouse at New Haven. After jumping out to a six-point first-quarter lead and leading by as many as 13 in the first half, the Academics rallied behind pressure defense to regain the lead and control of the game. A Jeff Allen three-pointer at the halftime buzzer cut the Tigers deficit to five at the break.
The second half was fairly even; however, the Tigers couldn't close the gap against undefeated Hillhouse. Brendan Hughes led with 11 points and Andre Frederick added nine.
Hosting Guilford, the game started off with both teams trading baskets and leads for the first 12 minutes. After falling behind 13-11 at the end of the first quarter, Hand's fast-break offense helped ignite a 6-0 run that gave the Tigers a two-point edge headed into the half. Hand's defense proved strong, allowing only four field goals through the second and third quarters, yet Guilford's pressure kept them close. Hand scored the last six points of the third led by Frederick to give the Tigers a 30-24 lead heading into the final quarter.
After a Frederick alley-oop dunk, the Tigers stretched their lead to as many as 11, but Guilford hung around and trailed 40-35 with just over two minutes to play, but Guilford would never get any closer. Phil Crampton, Dante Egidio, and Scott Braren converted free throws to stretch Hand's lead and lock up the game, as Hand has won 12 of the last 13 meetings in this rivalry. Frederick paced the Tigers with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks.
Hand opened the season with two SCC victories, first at Cheshire, 75-4, on Dec. 19, and then by a 53-18 margin against Law on Dec. 23.
In between the wins, the Tigers took part in the CJ McCormack Tournament on Dec. 21 in Berlin, where they placed seventh.
Finishers for Hand were Connor Sakmar (3rd; 106), Lucas Mendicino (4th; 121), Liam Sullivan (5th; 132), Owen Gottlick (3rd; 138), Ashton Gynezics (3rd; 145), and Kevin Mallon (4th; 152).
At the Trumbull Duals on Jan. 4, The Tigers took away two decisions, beating Foran (36-33) and Pomperaug (41-32) before falling to Newtown (48-20) and Nanuet, New York (35-32) to bring its overall record to 4-2 on the year.
Additionally, Hand participated in the Glastonbury JV Tourney on Dec. 27. The Tigers had five second-place finishers of Eric Marsh, Nate Rogers, Alex Bunowski, Will Hendrick, Ken Farrely; one third-place wrestler in Zack Santoemma; and three fourth-place competitors of Carter Chapman, Matt Dube, and Francis Regala.
Boys' Ice Hockey
Hand suffered a 4-2 loss to Branford on Dec. 28 before an 8-5 defeat against East Haven on Dec. 30 to bring its mark to 3-2.
The Tigers started the season with a bang on Dec. 19 when they defeated NFA-St. Bernard-Bacon, 12-1. Ben Solin led the way with six goals and four assists, while Dan Braumann added four scores and three dishes.
The victories continued with a 2-1 triumph over New Milford at home on Dec. 21. Dan Healey had the game-winner on a power play, and Braumann tacked on the other.
The Tigers also scored another rout in an 8-0 shutout of Staples-Weston-Shelton on Dec. 26.
Girls' Ice Hockey
Hand dropped a 5-1 home decision to Guilford on Jan. 4 to bring its mark to 1-3.
The Tigers grabbed a quick 1-0 edge versus the Indians with Emily Banasiak scoring thanks to assists by MacKenzie Hilton and Kat Allen. Guilford outshot the Tigers, 20-16, but Hand took 14 of 22 face-offs.