As Division 2 state champions the Whitman Hanson boys’ basketball team was honored on Monday night at the Dennis M. O’Brien field. Their showcase of talents at the TD Garden played out in March when they clinched the victory but fell short when the season was shortened in June due to Covid.
In June when preparations for the final game were being made and immediately following the cancelled game against Taconic Coach Bob Rodgers talked with The Express Sports Reporter Nate Rollins.
“One thing I told the kids is to look up at the banners in the gym on that boys’ basketball league championship banner, there’s a co-champion in there,” said Rodgers, who wrapped up his 20th year on the Panthers’ bench. “Nobody knows what year it is. It’s such a great accomplishment for the kids to win our first-ever state championship. It’s not going to say co-champions; it’s going to say state champions. That’s what they are.”
The team was honored in Monday’s short ceremony as parents and their varsity athletes viewed several clips of their season with memories highlighting the final year for seniors playing at Whitman Hanson.
Pete Smith representative of Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association MIAA also presented the team with medals on behalf of the organization. The champs received personalized jackets and championship rings as well.
Cancellation of the June title game Rodgers addressed the loss of playing time and the many changes experienced since the spring due to the pandemic.
“For the one last moment to be together as a team and I knew that it would be tremendously disappointing but when you think of what the whole world, the kids that play in the spring and families that have lost loved ones (pause) it really pales in comparison,” said Rodgers, who has officially served his 20th season with the Panthers.
During the ceremony he recalled the contributions, and efforts of players calling their team work ‘unselfish play, with everybody contributing’ to the state championships at the Garden.
He acknowledged several families as well as players who had tough roads and challenges; applauding their countless contributions of time, selflessness and volunteer efforts through the four years in the Whitman Hanson basketball and sports programs.
Sue Moss, retired wellness teacher and sports photographer at Whitman Hanson who is lovingly known as “Boss Moss,” was given a jacket and a hearty thank you for all her time and volunteer work she devotes to the sports department and families.
(Express sports correspondent Nathan Rollins contributed to this report.)