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Paul ‘Frosty’ Francis KIT Tournament Tips Off Friday in West Hartford

Kingswood Oxford senior Kayla Glemaud leads the Wyverns into action in the 54th Annual Paul "Frosty" Francis Kingwood Oxford Invitational Tournament on Friday night when they take on Sacred Heart. Submitted photo

The 2016 Paul ‘Frosty’ Francis  Kingswood Oxford Invitational begins Friday in West Hartford and will last throughout the weekend.

Kingswood Oxford senior Kayla Glemaud leads the Wyverns into action in the 54th Annual Paul "Frosty" Francis Kingwood Oxford Invitational Tournament on Friday night when they take on Sacred Heart. Submitted photo

Kingswood Oxford senior Kayla Glemaud leads the Wyverns into action in the 54th Annual Paul “Frosty” Francis Kingwood Oxford Invitational Tournament on Friday night when they take on Sacred Heart. Submitted photo

Submitted by John Nestor, Kingswood Oxford School

The 54th Annual Paul “Frosty” Francis Kingswood Oxford Invitational Tournament, the longest running prep basketball tournament in New England, tips off Friday afternoon with the Wyverns boys and girls basketball teams each hosting an eight-team tournament.

“Frosty” is a Kingswood Oxford legend and for 25 years served as a teacher, coach, Director of Athletics, and Director of Finance and Development. His basketball teams won two New England Class B basketball championships, in 1956 and 1957, and he established the tournament that now bears his name in 1963.

After his distinguished coaching career, Francis turned to administrative duties at Kingswood and pursued a career in basketball officiating, where he refereed many high school and college games in the state and northeastern region.

“The KIT is one of the many events at Kingswood Oxford. Of course, it is an excitement filled three days of prep school basketball competition. But it has always been more than that for KO,” Kingswood Oxford boys basketball coach Garth Adams said. “Since Frosty Francis started this tournament, the KIT has been a community galvanizing event that brings students, faculty, parents, alumni and friends of the school together. This is what makes the KIT special,” he said.

“For the players on the current team, the KIT is an opportunity to play in front of a pack gymnasium and supportive crowd of friends and family members. KO basketball teams always remember the KIT.”

The Girls Bracket gets underway at 2 p.m. on Friday when Wilbraham & Monson and Lawrenceville square off in Soby Gym. Watkinson meets Governor’s Academy at 3:30 p.m. in Soby and the winners play Saturday at 2:30 p.m..

Hamden Hall and Capital Prep Harbor meet at 5 p.m. on Friday night in Hewett Gym and host Kingswood Oxford faces Sacred Heart in the final girls game of the day scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip. The winners play Saturday at 5:30 p.m..

“We are excited to play in front of our family, friends and Kingswood Community,” KO girls basketball coach Kyle Chapman said. “It has been a great week of practice and we are excited to meet the other teams this weekend.  The girls’ bracket is extremely talented and we look forward to the challenge.”

Last season Governor’s Academy edged Lawrenceville School, 55-53 in the girls title game for its third KIT championship in four years. Lawrenceville School knocked off Hamden Hall for the title in 2014.

On the boys side Westminster and Lawrenceville get things started with a 2 p.m. tip off on Friday in Hewett Gym followed by Canterbury and Governor’s at 3:30 p.m.. Those winners play on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Pomfret and Capital Prep Harbor play at 5 p.m. in Soby Gym and host Kingswood Oxford meets St. Andrew’s in the nightcap scheduled for 8:30 p.m. in Hewett Gym with the winners scheduled to play Saturday at 7 p.m.

Pomfret School won the boys title last year with a 74-61 victory over Canterbury School, which has played in the last five KIT title games and won the event in 2014. KO played in consecutive title games in 2009 and 2010 and last won the KIT title in 2007.

On Friday Kingswood Oxford will honor its 2010-11 Boys Basketball team with a reception and ceremony before the KO boys game at 8:15. The team will be recognized and a banner will be raised commemorating the Wyverns’ run to the 2011 NEPSAC Class B Championship.

“I am happy that the school will recognize the 2010-11 team for its New England championship. The players on that team worked very hard that season and committed themselves to working toward achieving the goal of winning the title,” Adams said. “While not always the biggest or most talented, the 2010-11 team was always the most competitive.

“Their collective will would not allow them to ever quit in any game. The best example of this was the title game. With very little time left in regulation, the team found itself down to Berkshire School. However, I knew that this team would find a way, which it did. The game went to overtime and the rest is as they say, history.”

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