There is a photo hanging in the office of Hand girls basketball coach Tim Tredwell taken in the late stages of the Tigers’ 2017 CIAC Class L semifinal win over Pomperaug.
The photo captures the moment after then senior Gabby Martin had scored her 1,000th career point.
In the photo, each with a smile bigger than the next is Martin, junior Gabby Egidio and freshman Sara Wohlgemuth.
The photo represents a lot of things to Tredwell, starting with celebrating the team’s trip to Mohegan Sun where it would win a state title a few days later.
More importantly to Tredwell, the photo captures a moment in time when three of the best players in the state and in the history of Hand girls basketball, were all on the same court at the same time.
“It is one of my favorite photos because of the pure joy on all three of their faces,” Tredwell said. “I had those three kids on the same team. There are coaches who coach 20-30 years and don’t have one of those kind of kids and I had three at the same time. We are so fortunate to have so many great kids come through here.”
Now, three years later, Wohlgemuth is the last player from that photo left playing at Hand.
She said what she gained playing on that team as a freshman went beyond getting better as a player.
“I loved that experience more than anything,” Wohlgemuth said. “That team with Gabby (Martin) and Gabby (Egidio) and Colleen (Caruth) and Kaitlyn (Martin) had great chemistry and I was able to learn so much from all of them. I was a little intimidated at first, joining that group of players as a freshman because I knew how great they were. That experience for me and (Summer) Adams is something I will remember forever.”
Adams also played varsity that season and like Wohlgemuth, is a senior on the current team.
Wohlgemuth said her biggest lesson came from time spent with Gabby Martin, learning to play point guard and what it meant to be a team captain.
It should not come as a surprise to those who have seen her play, Wohlgemuth is one of the state’s best players and has Hand in position to make another run toward a state championship.
She is no stranger to success having been the first player off the bench on the 2017 championship team and a starter for the 2018 Class L semifinalist and 2019 Class L runner-up.
Wohlgemuth could have started on the 2017 team, according to Tredwell, but she embraced and thrived in the sixth-man role so well, she stayed there all season.
Wohlgemuth is now driven by the desire to return to Mohegan Sun for a third time and finish her career the way she began it, as a champion.
Not that she will admit it.
“I don’t look ahead at the schedule during the regular season. Our only goal should going one game at a time and that is what I talk to the team about,” Wohlgemuth said. “I am motivated by winning. That’s it. I want to win every game and if we don’t win, I want to know why we didn’t win. (Tredwell) and I are similar in that sense. Losing is not an option. I see the work ethic he has watching video, creating plays and I just want to match that as a player.”
Tredwell said he has never had a player quite like Wohlgemuth in terms of what she demands from herself and others.
Recently, when Wohlgemuth thought she was going through a cold stretch shooting, she asked Tredwell if she could stay after practice to work on her shot.
She stayed in the gym, alone, shooting and working on her game into the night.
She is already an all-state player, already on a team that is 13-3 and in line for a high seed in the SCC and state tournaments and already considered one of the best players to ever lace up sneakers on the hardwood in Madison.
Wohlgemuth is not satisfied with any of it.
“It has to be her competitive drive that separates her from everyone else,” Tredwell said. “In games she either plays 32 minutes or 31. if I pull her out for a quick rest it’s almost pointless because she is on the sideline jumping around and expending energy anyway. At practice every day, I have to take her out and tell her to sit out a while because she won’t stop because she is so hyper-competitive, even during practices.”
That competitive drive might not shine more than when it comes to Wohlgemuth’s rebounding numbers.
At 5-foot-4, Wohlgemuth is averaging 7.7 rebounds per game.
And if you think she is just using her speed to chase down long rebounds, think again
“No, she is in traffic ripping them down. It is all part of her will to win, her intense drive,” Tredwell said. “She is lightning fast on offense and has a plus handle with the ball. She is a streaky shooter who can shoot the lights out when she is on but knows when her shot is not working, to make the extra pass and find open players. Defensively, she is so quick but it is her intelligence on the court. She is so smart and she sees where the next play is going before it develops.”
Along with her rebounds, Wohlgemuth is averaging 18.3 points, 3.3 assists and 3 steals per game.
Last season, she scored her 1,000th career point and currently stands at 1,390 points for her career.
Although it feels like Wohlgemuth has been playing at Hand forever, the end of her time in a Tigers uniform is drawing to a close.
With a week left in the regular season followed by the SCC and Class L tournaments, Wohlgemuth is hoping to leave an even greater legacy at Hand.
Tredwell wants the end of her career to draw out as much as possible.
“I’m only going to miss her like I would miss oxygen or water. I have been so blessed to have so many great players here and so blessed to get to coach a player like Sara for four years,” he said. “I’m going to be weeping like a child when we go to our banquet and I have to say goodbye to her.”