GFA competed last weekend in the New England Prep School tournament Feb. 8. The Dragons had their best finish in school history, finishing fourth out of 20 teams. Five wrestlers reached the finals and four took fifth place.
The Dragons crowned two champions: freshman Hans Forland (106 pounds) and junior Ben Holcomb (138). After receiving a first round bye, Forland didn't give up a single offensive point during the tournament. He went 3-0 on the day and defeated his opponent from Brunswick in the finals 10-3. Forland was the first freshman to win this title for the Dragons.
Coming into the tournament as a No. 3 seed, Holcomb defeated his finals' opponent 6-5, despite giving up two penalty points.
Three other GFA wrestlers reached the finals -- junior captains Riley Grady and Jad Qaddourah and senior Alex Mirza. Grady (126) lost in the finals to a returning national place winner from Avon. Qaddourah (152) lost in in the finals 6-5 to the returning New England champion. Despite entering the tournament as a No. 1 seed, Mirza (220) a lost in the finals as well.
The Dragons will return to action Feb. 15 at the New England tournament. This tournament is a qualifier for the national tournament at Lehigh University.
GFA (15-3, 11-2 FAA) went defeated King School 73-45 Feb. 4. Junior Zach Baines tossed in a game-high 19 points, junior Jim Djema added 16 and freshman Sunday Okeke collected 15 points and 20 rebounds to lead the Dragons to victory.
With senior co-captain Andrew Chase out with the flu, freshman Matt Smith got his first chance at significant minutes. Smith also hit every shot that he took, scoring 10 points total and dished out three assists.
The Dragons followed that up with a 68-65 win over FAA contender St. Luke's Feb. 7. Trailing 65-61 with 1:05 left, Brendan Bieder hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 64-65. St Luke's advanced the ball, but pressure from Matt Tate and Djema forced a turnover. Tate grabbed the ball and sprinted to the basket, and got fouled while making the lay-up. He also sunk the free throw, giving GFA its first lead of the game at 67-65
With seven seconds remaining, a St Luke's ball handler busted through the pressure and was driving for the game tying lay-up, only for Chase came up with a blocked shot. Chase was then fouled with only 1.4 seconds remaining, and he hit a free throw for the 68-65 final.
GFA (8-7) defeated Greenwich Academy 56-30 Feb. 4. After jumping out to a quick 10-0 against the Dragons (23 steals) continued to apply defensive pressure, which proved to be too much for the opposition to handle. Freshman Lexi Kimball led all scorers with 20 points and seven steals, while juniors Claire Comey, Daly Naughton and Lisa Johnson all scored eight points. Johnson also had 12 rebounds, while Naughton pulled down seven.
The Dragons then fell 42-39 to Ethel Walker in Simsbury. GFA fell behind by 10 points at halftime and rallied to make the game close late on.
With just eight seconds left on the clock and the Dragons down three, Kimball took a 3-pointer that didn't fall in. Kimball finished a game-high 19 points, while Naughton added 8 and Johnson chipped in six points, seven rebounds and five steals.