Putnam pg 1 4-11-19

PUTNAM — In an unusual NCAA tournament that saw just one #1-seed advance to the Final Four and eventually make the NCAA championship, the surprise of the tournament has been the #- seed Texas Tech Red Raiders. And a couple former local players will be in the hunt with the Red Raiders.
 After finishing with a 14-4 conference record in the Big 12, the Red Raiders earned the #3 seed and have stifled teams all tourney long with their size and length to go along with a top notch defense. Texas Tech began their tournament run with a 72-57 run away win over #14 Northern Kentucky before blowing out #6 Buffalo 78-58 to advance to the Sweet 16.
The next few games would be the ultimate test for Texas Tech with #2 Michigan, #1 Gonzaga and #2 Michigan State standing in the way. The Red Raiders have been known for their defense all season long and it continued holding the Wolverines to 44 points, outlasting #1 Gonzaga by 6 before slamming the door on the Spartans in the Final Four 61-51, making the NCAA Championship game for the first time in program history.
Two former Putnam Science Academy Mustangs will look to be the first Mustangs from PSA to win a National Championship.
Big men Malik Ondigo and Josh Mballa are Putnam Science Academy products who have adapted to the Red Raider Way under Head Coach Chris Beard.
Ondigo and Mballa have dealt with the injury bug this year but have been their every step of the way for this historic run in Texas Tech’s quest for their 1st ever NCAA Championship. “Malik and Josh are great athletes but their also great kids” said Putnam Science Academy Athletic Director and Prep Boys Basketball Coach Tom Espinosa. “We are so proud of how far they have come and we will be rooting for Texas Tech in the Championship game.”
WFSB Channel 3 reporter Jennifer Lee stopped by PSA last week and ran a story on Putnam Science and the two former Mustangs who would be in action on the national stage on Saturday in the Final Four. In an interview with Lee, Espinosa added that the Red Raiders weren’t done getting quality kids from Putnam Science Academy. “Not only is Malik and Josh there now but next year Texas Tech will add 7-footer Russel Tchewa from this year’s team. They have a potential National Championship team this year and can be even better next year with the addition of Russel.”
Ondigo is a sophomore at Texas Tech while Josh Mballa is in his first year at the school. Ondigo has played in 18 games and shot just under 40 percent from the field while Mballa has played in 17 games and is shooting 45 percent in his first year as a Red Raider.
Malik was a part of the 2016-2017 Putnam Science Academy Prep team that went 34-7 under Espinosa and made it all the way to the Final Four of the Prep National Championship tournament. The following season, Josh Mballa and a new look Mustang team finished 38-4 and won the 2017-2018 National Prep Championship, the first title for Putnam Science Academy.
Josh Sanchas
Sports Information Director
Putnam Science Academy


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