HINGHAM — The Whitman-Hanson boys’ basketball team showed why it has ruled the Patriot League’s Keenan Division the past two seasons.
Four weeks after the Panthers were dealt their worst regular-season defeat in over 10 years — a 71-45 drubbing to visiting Hingham — Whitman-Hanson bounced back in a big way on Friday night with a 68-51 win over the Harbormen.
“It’s just a testament to a team of resiliency,” said Whitman-Hanson coach Bob Rodgers. “I give the kids all the credit in the world. I’m really proud of my guys.”
Trailing 35-34 a minute into the second half, W-H (13-4, 11-2) went on a 10-1 run fueled by senior captain Jacob Hanson-Bartlett, who delivered five of his 13 points.
A 3-point play from junior Tajh Hunter (9 points, 5 rebounds) pushed the lead to 57-42 with just over four minutes remaining.
That was a stark contrast to the first half when a driving layup by junior Jack Johnson (11 points) handed Hingham (14-2, 11-2) a 26-19 lead.
But Whitman-Hanson weathered the storm.
“We took their punches tonight,” Rodgers said. “We had a nice little start, and then they came back with a nice little run, and then we came back.”
Senior captain Sean Leahy produced a game-high 25 points and corralled 10 rebounds.
“We wanted it, we just wanted to win tonight,” Leahy said.
Defensively, Hunter was immense, limiting Hingham standout John Gates to 1 point.
“It was definitely a tough matchup, he’s definitely one of the best shooters in the league,” Hunter said. “I just moved my feet, tried to stay with him and tried not to let him get in my head.”
Rodgers called Hunter “the star of the game”.
“He played incredible defense on the best shooter in our league,” Rodgers said. “That took them out of their offense a little bit.”
John Lowther led Hingham with 17 points.
If both teams win out, they will share the Keehan crown.