Featured Athlete: Boys basketball forward Andrew Castagnetti

By Rachel Lang

Boys basketball captain junior Andrew Castagnetti shoots and scores. And shoots and scores. And shoots and scores again. In the Vikes’ 64-55 win over top-ranked Churchill Jan. 3, Castagnetti led the team with a career-high 19 points.

Forward Andrew Castagnetti takes a jump shot during the boys basketball team's game against Churchill last season. In this season's match-up against the Bulldogs, Castagnetti led the Vikes to an upset win with a career-high 19 points. Photo courtesy Andrew Castagnetti.

“We really played together as a team and wanted the win so bad that every shot that was made was a big one,” he said. “So the shots I made were big shots and that’s what got us to win.”

Going into the game, Castagnetti said that he and his teammates knew they were better than their 2-6 record indicated. He was also hoping that a win against the hated Bulldogs could serve as a catalyst for change in their season.

“I think that every Churchill game should be taken as a rivalry game like B-CC is and we should really look forward to playing them,” he said.

Coach Christopher Lun said that Andrew’s electrifying play prompted his teammates to respond with better work ethic and attitude.

“Andrew has struggled a bit with his outside shot this season, so it was very refreshing to see him snap out of it Tuesday,” he said. “He hit four of seven three-pointers vs. Churchill. When he is hitting his jump shot, we are a much tougher team to defend.”

Guard Samir Kaveeshwar agrees as well that Castagnetti’s play helped the team to its surprise victory.

“Just the fact that he made so many shots and played hard defense helped us all to play harder against a good team,” Kaveeshwar said.

With a roster that contains only four seniors out of a thirteen-member lineup, the team has looked to Castagnetti to step up and he has risen to the challenge. He currently leads the team with an average of 11.0 points per game and 1.3 steals per game.

“He works hard every day in practice, and he has a very high basketball IQ,” Lun said. “He knows how to play and where to be.”

In addition to improving the team with his basketball skills, Castagnetti provides valuable leadership to this young team. Both Lun and the players view him as someone who is committed to the team.

“He is a well-rounded player who works hard,” Lun said. “We really appreciate his team-first mentality and his ability to get others involved.”

Guard Liam Hatch also believes that Castagnetti’s guidance is invaluable to the team.

“His experience makes him such a great leader because he gets us organized and doing what we need to do,” he said.

Castagnetti’s basketball career began when he joined his first recreational team in first grade and he has enjoyed playing ever since. With the rowdy fans and enmity between schools, representing Whitman is particularly exhilarating for him.

“I love playing in front of the crowd—especially away crowds—to show them Whitman’s not bad this year and that we can hang with the best teams out there,” he said. “I love to quiet them down when I make shots.”