W-H finished the season at 12-10.
Shortly into its first practice, the Whitman-Hanson Regional High girls’ basketball team was dealt a major blow. Senior co-captain Erin Leahy went down with an injury.
Leahy, who was a Patriot League All-Star last season after missing a chunk of her sophomore campaign with a torn ACL, was expected to be a major contributor. She wouldn’t see the floor all season.
It took the Panthers a few games to find their rhythm, stumbling out of the gate to an 0-2 record. After that second loss, 42-34 to Hingham, sixth-year head coach Jenna Olem remained assured her team would figure it out.
“We’re gonna be better than you think,” she said at the time. “It’s a work in progress.”
She was right. The Panthers locked down wins in their next five games. Two of those wins came in the Hoosac Valley tournament, as the Panthers knocked off the host Hurricanes (this season’s D3 Western Mass champions) and Greenfield (this season’s D3 Western Mass. runner-up).
The Panthers first league test was a matchup against Duxbury, and an Ann O’Neill 3-pointer sent them to victory.
W-H ended league play at 7-7. It had both Plymouth North and Duxbury, in its rematch, on the ropes, but just couldn’t finish them off.
The Panthers capped the season with wins over Abington (44-25) and Rockland (59-53), two tournament teams, to claim the Shawn Cotter Invitational Tournament. The Panthers, who allowed 37.5 points per game during their last six regular-season contests, set out to win at least one in-season tournament this winter and they won both.
In the D1 South tournament, the 11th-seeded Panthers succumbed to sixth-seeded Mansfield in a nail bitter, 45-41, finishing 12-10 on the year.
W-H was paced by the play of senior forward Kathryn Dunn (11.5 ppg , 8 rpg and 3.5 apg) and junior Britany Gacicica (8.4 ppg and 7.3 rpg) this season, both of whom league all-stars. O’Neill, juniors Olivia Martin (third on team with 6.6 ppg) and Hannah Damon (second on team with 2.5 apg) and sophomore Reese Codero all stepped up in spurts.