The winter sports season was highlighted by both Whitman-Hanson Regional basketball programs making the tournament.
With the spring looming, here is a look back on the winter season that was for the Whitman-Hanson Regional High sports teams.
Boys’ basketball – buoyed by the dynamic play of senior captains Jacob Hanson-Bartlett and Sean Leahy – W-H found itself in the postseason for a whopping 10th straight winter. The Panthers rebounded from a shaky 5-4 start and 4-2 league record out of the gate and rode a 10-game winning streak to grab a share of the Patriot League Keenan Division crown for the third consecutive season. The sixth-seeded Panthers fell to 11th-seeded Nauset, 65-56, in the first round of the Division 2 South Sectional tournament. Bob Rodgers’ club capped the year at 16-5, improving its record over the past three seasons to 57-11.
Girls’ basketball stormed out to a 7-0 start that included a double-overtime win against Bridgewater-Raynham, its first victory over Hanover since 2011 and a 3-0 trip to Florida where it captured the Queen of Palms Emerald Division title. Jenna Olem’s club received contributions from all over its young roster that featured just two seniors. Junior captain and league all-star Kathryn Dunn (11.3 PPG) paced the team on the offensive end and fellow junior captain and league all-star Erin Leahy (8.5 RPG) was a force on the boards. The 11th-seeded Panthers’ season was ended in the first round of the Division 1 South Sectional tournament with a 46-37 loss to sixth-seeded Wellesley. The team finished the year at 13-9, its best mark in eight years.
Girls’ hockey set sail on the season having to replace nearly 80 percent of its offensive production that led it to back-to-back SEMGHL Northeast titles, a league it left this season with the formation of the Patriot League. The co-op also welcomed 10 freshmen to its roster, including Emily McDonald (Whitman) and Rylie Moran (Whitman). McDonald ranked third on the team with three goals and Moran saw some time in net, recording 65 saves. Sophomore league all-star Natalie Nemes (Kingston) led WHSL with 14 goals and eight assists while junior Meagan Elwood (Kingston) potted eight goals. Freshman Kat Gilbert (Halifax) turned away 477 shots in net as a first-year goaltender. Kevin Marani’s squad finished the year at 2-18, but was 2-7 in the home stretch.
Boys’ hockey flipped the script on a tough previous campaign. After an offseason of hard work, the Panthers increased their win total by seven and came within two points of making the postseason. Chris Googins’ club, which finished the winter at 8-10-2, owned wins over postseason qualifiers Abington and Silver Lake. W-H rallied behind its senior captain, Ryan Sawtelle, for an emotional 6-1 win over Plymouth North on Jan. 6 in a game that was- dedicated the night to his late mother, Lori. Senior assistant captains and league all-stars Korey Howard (18 goals, 10 assists) and Alex Uva (9 goals, 16 points) paced the Panthers in points.
Boys’ indoor track raced to a 2-3 record. Mike Driscoll’s group posted wins over Duxbury (55-45) and Silver Lake (57-43) and dropped a pair of close meets to Hingham (57-43) and Pembroke (57-41). Four Panthers partook in the Div. 3 All-State meet and senior captains Brian Edwards (eighth place, high jump) and Andrew Newman (seventh place, 2-mile) captured medals. Newman, along with classmates Brett Holmes and Jack Ryan, were selected as Patriot League All-Stars.
Girls’ indoor track, riddled with injuries, dropped its first three meets before posting a win over Silver Lake (51-49) and a tie against Pembroke (49-49) to conclude the winter at 1-3-1. Adams State-bound and senior captain Nicole Norve qualified for the Div. 3 All-State meet and was tabbed a league all-star. Key contributions also came from seniors Camryn Boyce and Julia Cosgrave along with a handful of underclassman.
Wrestling finished the winter with a 7-13 mark. Sophomore Steve Brooks (152 pounds) led the charge for the Panthers on the mat with a team-high 19 wins. Freshman Matt Butler (126) was second on the Panthers with 16 wins while senior captains Ben Cordingley (138) and Steve Osborne (182) combined to rack up 28 victories. Gary Rabinvotiz’ team boasted eight sophomores and 10 freshmen. W-H ended the season 2-1, with wins over Norwood (46-36) and Everett (30-24) in its final meet of the season Feb. 3.
Girls’ swimming/diving had sophomores Niki Kamperides, Madison Navicky and Sabrina O’Connor all qualify for sectionals. In the regular season, the girls – under the watch of W-H head coach Sean Siciliano and leadership of senior captain Phoebe Bonney – finished with 5-3-1 mark. WHAM scored key wins over Rockland (90-69) and Pembroke (94-74). Its tie came against Norwell (85-85).
Boys’ swimming/diving, in its first season as a co-op between Whitman-Hanson and Middleboro, saw some success. Freshman Brian Pham took the pool by storm, qualifying for sectionals in a pair of events. Junior Nate Manley also chipped in by scoring in a few meets for Siciliano’s club, which finished with a 3-5 record.
Gymnastics concluded its second season with a 9-4 record. Rachel Sferruzza’s bunch opened with a 125.1 score to record quad-meet victories over Pembroke/Silver Lake (123.3), Marshfield (123.05) and Hingham (121.75), matching last season’s win total. Senior Britney Blackstone set the tone for the Panthers all winter, qualifying for the postseason. Senior captains Kaileigh Gordon and Kaylee Torpey were also key.