Nate Amado and Cole LeVangie pointed the way for the Whitman-Hanson Regional High boys’ basketball team this season.
Cutting down the net together during their senior years of high school was a moment Nate Amado and Cole LeVangie had dreamed about.
It was mission accomplished for the longtime friends and WHRHS boys’ basketball senior captains, who paced the Panthers to a perfect 12-0 record and Patriot Cup title, ending their high school careers on a 35-game winning streak.
The Patriot League Keenan Division MVP, Amado dumped in 24.2 ppg and corralled 9.3 rpg. LeVangie averaged a near triple-double, scoring 13.6 ppg, grabbing 9.1 rpg, and dishing out 8.3 apg en route to being tabbed a Patriot League Keenan Division All-Star.
“They’re two of the best to ever play at Whitman-Hanson,” said Athletic Director and 21-year boys’ basketball Head Coach Bob Rodgers.
But the two co-captains, who were the only returning starters from W-H’s 2019-20 state title team, led the way in more than just the stat sheet during this unprecedented winter season.
“Really from the first practice, I just saw that all of the players were so focused on trying to keep the Whitman-Hanson tradition going,” Rodgers said. “And Nate and Cole, being the leaders that they are, you could see them kind of take these younger players under their wing in terms of the right way to practice and approach a game.”
“Something I wanted to believe in was really keeping masks on,” LeVangie said. “I think that was the starting point and limiting our bubbles. I just really wanted to get through the season, try to provide an example for the rest of the teams in the league with just how we handled the whole situation.”
Said Amado: “If someone’s mask was down, you want to be the one to tell them to bring it up and lead by example. And on the court, we had 10 or 11 new guys to show what varsity was like.”
Junior captain-elect Ryan Vallancourt was one of those guys.
“Cole and Nate were just the best leaders and best friends I could ask for,” Vallancourt said. “They are the embodiment of what Whitman-Hanson basketball is. They have elevated me as a player as well as everyone else.”
While Amado and LeVangie often made it look easy on the court, both have gone through setbacks that they credit for helping push them to where they are today.
Amado was shooting to make the junior varsity team as a freshman. That didn’t happen. Then, he was aiming to make varsity as a sophomore but came down with the flu and wasn’t in the mix for the big club until they called him up later in the season.
“Players in all sports should look into his journey and recognize that it was his mindset and his ability and not to let those kind of setbacks derail him from his joy of the game and his goals for the game,” Rodgers said of Amado. “I’m very proud of him because a lot of guys would get negative, a lot of guys would hold a grudge, but he always just trusted us and he didn’t get negative and went out and did what he had to do. Everybody wants to point fingers when they don’t get what they want but they really have to do is ask themselves, ‘What can I do better to get what I want?'”
And that’s what Amado did.
“Nate made it such his sophomore year, we recognized what he was doing and he got brought up. What Nate accomplished is truly phenomenal.”
As for LeVangie, his basketball career was put in question at the end of his sophomore year, when he was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.
“I lost a lot of weight that offseason,” LeVangie said. “Going into junior year, I didn’t really know what I was going to do on the court.”
He ended up coming back even better, tossing 11.4 ppg, helping propel W-H to the Div. 2 state title.
“Just with it paying off at the Garden, me being a really key contributor, it was definitely one of the best experiences of my life,” LeVangie said.
LeVangie will continue his basketball career at Suffolk University next winter, while Amado will play at Babson College.
“They should be very proud of what they accomplished because they certainly left a great legacy,” Rodgers said.