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The Tigers defeated Shelton, 51-25 on the road on Jan. 13 prior to them defeating SCC Hammonasset Division foe Law, 56-48, on Jan. 17 to up their record to 8-4 (4-0 in the division) and clinch a state tournament berth.
Facing the Gaels, Hand jumped out to a 21-3 first-quarter lead behind Lily Taylor's 10 points and never looked back, owning a 16-point edge at the half. Hand did not let up after the break with six different Tigers contributing to a 17-8 third quarter. Cori Ouellette scored a game-high 14 points, while Taylor added 12 points to compliment her two assists, two rebounds, and two blocks. Lauren Brandau led the team with 11 rebounds and four steals, and Gege Catalano scored eight points and grabbed five boards. Michelle McCloskey pulled in eight rebounds and had two blocks.
Versus the Eagles, Ouellette and Gillian Kraemer scored five points each as Hand took a 16-9 lead at the end of one. Taylor (11 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds) knocked down a pair of threes in the second to stretch that lead to 30-20 at the half, but Law didn't go away quietly. Down 12 heading into the fourth, the Eagles went on a run, and Hand only scored one field goal in the final frame. Law got within two on two separate occasions; however, Hand's defense stayed strong behind Catalano (11 points, 17 rebounds, and 3 blocks) and Cassidy Wygonik (12 points, 12 boards, and 3 blocks) to hold on for the win, as Brandau also grabbed 10 rebounds in the victory.
Boys' Ice Hockey
Hand defeated Brookfield-Bethel-Danbury on Jan. 15, 8-1, to give itself a 4-5 record and end a five-game losing streak.
On Jan. 11, Hand suffered a tough 4-3 loss to North Haven. The Indians scored the decider with 45 seconds left in the game, as Ben Solin scored all three Tigers' tallies and Chase Briggs stopped 28 shots.
The Tigers suffered a tough 34-33 loss at SCC Division A foe Shelton on Jan. 15 to bring its mark to 6-3 (1-1 in Division A).
Grappling with the Gaels, victories came from Connor Sakmar (106; 16-0 decision), Liam Sullivan (126; 5-0 decision), Kevin Mallon (138; 12-2 decision), Owen Gottlick (145; pin), Lance Hosmer (160; 10-2 decision), Ben Onofrio (170; forfeit), and Justin Dwyer (220; pin).
On Jan. 11, the Tigers were at the Lawless Invitational at Nonnewaug and finished second behind host Nonnewaug.
Hand had two first-place winners in Lucas Mendicino (120) and Onofrio, while other finishers were Sakmar (3rd), Francis Regala (112; 3rd), Sullivan (4th), Mallon (3rd), Ashton Gyenizs (145; 2nd), and Dwyer (2nd).
Hand hosted North Haven and Hamden on Jan. 14 and swept the tri-meet, scoring 122.6 points to the Indians' 107.9 and the Green Dragons' 84.7 prior to defeating Foran, 135.65-95.75, on Jan. 18 to improve to 6-0.
Hosting Hamden and North Haven, Abby McGuirk scored an 8.8 on the vault and an 8.4 on bars to win that event before a 9.0 to take the beam. She continued to capture events with the floor (8.9) and all-around (35.1). Maria Iennaco notched a 7.4 for the bars, plus Lauren LaChapelle tallied a 7.8 during the beam.
Against Foran, Stefani Taschner captured the vault (9.25), bars (8.7), and floor (9.15) events, and Kendall Jerzyk took first-place wins in both the all-around (35.6) and beam (9.1) competitions. Iennaco was additionally third for the beam (8.3), while other spots went to Olivia Finke (7.8 on bars, 3rd; 8.4 on beam, 2nd; 31.85 all-around, 3rd), Ashlyn Thompson (8.15 for vault, 3rd), and Lily Spencer (8.3 on floor exercises, 3rd).
Girls' Ice Hockey
After a 6-5 loss to West Haven on Jan. 11, Hand fell short in two more decisions to Trumbull (5-1) on Jan. 13 and Simsbury (7-0) on Jan. 15 to bring its mark to 1-7.
Against Trumbull, Emily Banasiak scored the lone Tigers' goal with an assist from Mackenzie Hilton. Facing the Blue Devils, tallies came from Morgan Connors, Emily Soboleski, and Kat Allen, along with two lamp lighters from Hilton. Helpers on the scores were Kat Allen, Banasiak (with 2 dishes), Julia Ciotti-Angiollo, Lindsey Brown, Hilton, and Connors.
Led by Head Coach Todd Williams and volunteer assistant coach Bruce Wilson, Hand participated in its first race of the season on Jan. 9. The girls' squad placed fifth in the competition with Melanie Rennie winning the race thanks to a combined time on her two runs of 47.26 (23.50 and 23.76). Carly Fischer finished ninth out of 79 with a total time of 49.01 (24.85 and 24.16), which was followed by Anna Baker (37th) with a combined time of 55.21 (27.61 and 27.60). The boys' team placed eighth with Ethan Wilson grabbing ninth out of 106 participants on a combined time of 46.73 (24.37 and 22.36), and then Ryan Garb placed 32nd with a mark of 49.89 (26.27 and 23.62). Jeremiah Mead came in 48th with a combined time of 51.23 (26.48 and 24.75).