The Whitman-Hanson Regional High girls’ basketball team is once again shooting for a league title.
The Whitman-Hanson Regional High girls’ basketball team is not happy about how last season ended.
That was with a loss to Hanover in the Patriot Cup final. A week before, W-H was shut out in the fourth quarter and fell to Scituate.
The Panthers still finished the season with a 9-4 record. Not bad, but not good enough for a team itching to bring the program its first league title since 2010.
As it sets its sights on the 2021-22 campaign, W-H will have a chance to avenge a few of those late-season losses right away.
Its first three games of this season are against Scituate, Silver Lake and then Hanover.
So they put in even more work this offseason.
“They played all spring and summer with their AAU teams,” Costa explained. “They played summer league, they played fall AAU together — something that they haven’t done in the past — to try and build that chemistry on the floor.”
The Panthers boasted a trio of league all-stars last season in Reese Codero, Rylie Harlow and Abby Martin.
Codero is now playing at Roger Williams, while Harlow is on Fitchburg State’s roster. However, Martin, a senior captain and forward, is back and that’s good news for the Panthers.
Martin took over games at times last season. She netted 14 points and snagged 21 rebounds in a win over Marshfield, and pumped in 17 points and corralled nine boards in a statement win over Plymouth North.
“We relied a lot on her last year — both offensively and defensively,” Costa said. “She kind of carried our team offensively last year. We expect big things from her again this year, especially losing two other starters in Reese and Rylie — everybody has got to pick up the slack, but we’re leaning heavily on Abby to control both ends of the floor.”
Starting point guard Caitlin Leahy (junior) and starting shooting guard Lauren Dunn (senior captain) are also back.
“If you look at any of the good teams, if you have a really good backcourt that can carry you,” Costa said. “Our staff is completely confident in both Caitlin and Lauren and think they’re probably two of the top guards in our league.”
Costa said Dunn is the Panthers’ best on-ball defender and Leahy is their best passer.
Senior captain Meg Stone is also back in the middle. Costa said he expects her and Martin to be a force on the glass together.
“I think it’s going to be tough for teams to match up with our size,” Costa said. “We just look to exploit the matches we’re given any night. We’re versatile that we have multiple people that can score in different ways.”
Freshman Cassidy Briggs, Lillie MacKinnon and Taryn Leonard will give the senior-laden Panthers some youth.
“They’ve been great additions to the team,” Costa said. “We’re losing so many seniors so we have to start to mold some of these younger players.”
W-H opens the season Tuesday, Jan. 14 when it hosts Scituate at 6 p.m.
“We’ll take it game by game and practice by practice and see what happens,” Costa said. “At the end of the day, we’re just going to trust the work we put in and let the chips fall.”