Riding a 34-game winning streak, the Whitman-Hanson boys’ basketball team got everything it could handle and more from visiting Hingham in Saturday’s Patriot League Cup final.
The Panthers trailed by 2 with five minutes left when they broke from the huddle and coach Bob Rodgers reminded his players that this was the scenario they wanted.
Whitman-Hanson responded with a game-sealing 15-0 run, capping a perfect 12-0 season and extending its winning streak to 35 games with a 74-61 win over the Harbormen.
“That’s what you want in a championship game,” said Rodgers. “In some ways it’s not as fun when you’re winning by double digits. I was excited that [Hingham] brought their best game tonight but I was still confident because when you got guys like I got, you just know that over 32 minutes it’s going to work out.”
Senior captains Nate Amado (16 points, 12 rebounds) and Cole Levangie (16 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists) set the tone for the Panthers. But it was contributions from guards Amari Jamison and Ryan Vallancourt that paid dividends, especially during the game-clinching run.
Jamison converted a difficult driving layup to tie the game at 58 before canning a left-wing 3-pointer to give Whitman-Hanson the lead. After a 3-pointer by Amado, Vallancourt found a cutting Levangie for a lay-in and a commanding 66-58 advantage with under two minutes left.
Jamison and Vallancourt each made four 3-pointers and combined for 34 points.
“Guys stepped up big time,” said Amado. “They were denying me with a triangle-and-2 for a couple quarters and they all made big shots. We couldn’t do it without everyone else.”
Hingham (8-5) came out red-hot offensively, shooting 59 percent from the floor and 50 percent from behind the arc in the first half. Strong play from Jack Hurley (15 points) and Nick Johannes (13 points) helped the Harbormen lead, 41-36, at halftime.
But Whitman-Hanson zeroed in defensively in the second half, holding Hingham to 20 points and 1-for-10 shooting from 3-point range in the fourth quarter.
“We got off to a hot start but that’s the type of pace they like to play at and they were able to keep it up for 32 minutes and we unfortunately weren’t able to finish at the end,” said Hingham coach Bob Kniffen.
Whitman-Hanson’s last in-state setback came to Hingham on Dec. 13, 2019, and its last loss was a defeat to Sycamore (Ohio) on Dec. 26, 2019 in a tournament in Florida.
Amado and Levangie, both critical parts of last year’s D2 co-state championship team, said finishing their careers on a 35-game winning streak is something they’ll remember forever.
“Later in life I’ll probably think back and be like ‘o\Oh wow I won 35 games in a row in high school,’” said Levangie. “It’s something I’ll brag to my friends about.”
Added Amado, “When I sit back and think about it, it just seems crazy to me. I don’t know if NBA team’s have even done that. It’s a crazy number.”
Abington 67, Randolph 51 — For a third consecutive year, Matt Maguire, Andrew McCluskey, and Derek Nuttall helped the Green Wave advance to a championship game.
Although the trio would have preferred to get a shot at the Division 4 state title after sharing co-champion honors with Hopedale a year ago, they finish their careers on top after combining for 49 points and 33 rebounds to lift Abington past visiting Randolph in South Shore League final.
“This is their third ‘postseason’ for all of them on the varsity level and every year we’ve made it to the last game of the year,” Abington coach Peter Serino said. “I tried to explain to them this doesn’t usually happen — you don’t know when your last practice is and when your last game is in high school. It’s really a credit to them.”
Maguire ruled with a team-high 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Green Wave (11-3), who earned SSL tournament wins over Mashpee (73-52) and Rockland (63-60) to advance to the championship. The forward leaves Abington with 1,236 career points, ranking second all-time behind 2019 graduate Bryson Andrews (1,357).
“It’s nice to go out with a championship,” said Maguire, who will play at Worcester Polytechnic Institute next year. “Even though it’s not the state tournament, we stayed at the top. Coming into the season, we were the team to beat and it just feels nice to stay at the top.”
McCluskey (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Nuttall (12 points, 10 rebounds) also recorded double-doubles. Senior Anthony Williams Jr. (21 points) led the scoring efforts for Randolph (8-4), while junior Evans Appiah grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.
Bishop Feehan 63, Archbishop Williams 48 — The Shamrocks (15-2) exploded for 25 points in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Bishops (13-6) and claim the Catholic Central League title.
Bishop Feehan was led by senior Adam Drummond, who posted 18 points, including five 3-pointers in the second half.
“Adam has just been tremendous for us this year,” said Feehan coach Dean O’Connor. “We were able to be very balanced offensively.”
Senior Billy Oram scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, while classmate Eric Nelson chipped in with 9 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
The focus for the Shamrocks was on shutting down Archbishop Williams sophomore guard Andre Mills Jr., who had posted 41 points in the semifinals against St. Mary’s on Wednesday.
“We were really geared up to stop him and to hold him to 12 points was huge. We wanted to make other guys try to beat us and then feed our offense out of our defense” said O’Connor, in his third year at Bishop Feehan.
Watertown 64, Winchester 57 — The Raiders (12-1) captured the Middlesex League Tournament title behind a 15-point fourth quarter performance from Gabe Spinelli.
Spinelli, who was averaging more than 30 points per game over the past two weeks, led Watertown with 23 points, with 21 coming in the second half after he was held to 2 in the first.
Despite the low scoring output from Spinelli in the first two quarters, the hosts went into halftime with a 29-19 lead behind strong performances from Adam Patterson, who scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half, and Jonathan Kimera who contributed a season-high 13 points.
Spinelli finished the game with 23.
“Those guys have confidence — individually and with each other,” said Watertown coach Steve Harrington. “I thought that was a good team win.”
New Mission 71, O’Bryant 61 — Needing 13 points to break 1,000 for his career, Titans senior Juan Salas reached the milestone with 3:54 remaining in the third quarter, finishing with 16 points to complement a team-high 17 points from Hassan Jenkins. “It means a lot because [Salas] has been a four-year starter and with only eight games this year, it’s a real accomplishment in a shortened season,” said New Mission coach Malcolm Smith. “He’s the first 1,000-point scorer I’ve coached in 17 years as a high school coach. That stands for a lot. I think getting there took a lot of pressure off him.”
Snowden 57, East Boston 56 — After senior Lansana Kaba (15 points, nine rebounds) made a layup to give the Cougars (5-2) the lead in the final seconds of their senior night matchup, junior Marquise Miller (8 points, 12 rebounds) drew a charge with three seconds remaining to seal the win. Junior Omari Brooks also contributed 17 points to the winning effort.
Brad Joyal reported from Abington. Colin Bannen, Ethan McDowell, and Nate Weitzer contributed.