Basketball Wrap-up
Titans clash
in battle of 
Top 10 Preps
By Ron P. Coderre
The local prep schools, Hyde-Woodstock, Marianapolis, Pomfret and Putnam Science Academy all saw action last week.  The preps who begin their seasons earlier than the high schools always manage to squeeze in a goodly number of games prior to the long Christmas break. 
Putnam Science Academy, ranked #8 nationally, played a pair of contests, one featuring a battle with another Top 10 National Prep ranked team South Kent.  Marianapolis was on the hardwood four times in an eight-day span.  The biggest game was an inter-regional battle with the Pomfret School Golden Griffins.  Hyde-Woodstock lost its only contest of the week.
On the distaff side of the ledger Marianapolis, Pomfret and Hyde-Woodstock all were in action.  Pomfret School split a pair of games as did Marianapolis.  The Hyde Wolfpack remains in search of its first victory of the young season.
Mustangs Lose First Game of Young Season
In what was considered an early season litmus test Putnam Science Academy didn’t pass much to the disappointment of its faithful.  In a game that was closer than the final score might indicate, the Mustangs lost to South Kent 90-67.
The Mustangs came out of the gate like they were going to run away from the hosts taking an early 9-0 lead.  The run would soon dissipate as the half came to a conclusion South Kent was on top 38-33.  The second half saw PSA make runs at the winners but could never get over the top.
Mamadou Diarra had a big game posting a double-double with 15 points and 15 boards to go with four steals.  Saul Phiri was also in double figures with a team high 19 points.  Hamidou Diallo, who had 37 points earlier in the week, was held to a mere three points by the South Kent defense.
The Putnam Science Academy Achilles heel, as it’s been all season, was its poor free throw shooting.  The Mustangs were a miserable 17-for-36 from the charity stripe.  The offense also suffered from 16 turnovers.
“The free throw line killed us.  If we made our free throws it’s a totally different game,” said coach Tom Espinosa.  
Earlier in the week the Mustangs entertained Upper Room Christian School of Dix Hills, N.Y., and walked off with a hard fought 104-91 victory.  In the early going it appeared that Putnam Science Academy would win in a laugher but URC had different thoughts. 
Trailing 59-45 at halftime the New Yorkers surged in the second half pulling to within four points of the Mustangs 78-74 with 7:38 remaining.  A big reason for the surge was the fact that PSA big man Diarra fouled out midway through the second half.
Coach Espinosa’s charges pulled together at this juncture led by Diallo who had probably the best game of his career at PSA.  Diallo had 18 points at intermission and followed that up with 19 points over the final 20 minutes.  He received offensive support from Phiri who had 13 markers and Diarra who posted 10 points before exiting to the pines via the foul route.
Eric Ayala (9 points), Tyere Marshall (8) and Chuba Ohams (6) all provided an offensive spark at key points of the second half.  The 8-1 Mustangs placed 10 players in the scorebook in the win.
Pomfret School and Marianapolis renewed their rivalry and it was well worth the price of admission to see the two in action.  Pomfret with two consistent halves pulled out the victory by the slim margin of 54-50.  
The Golden Griffins placed three players in double figures led by Cam Winston with 15 points.  Also in double digits was Christian Wilson with 10 and John Long with 11.
Marianapolis, which is finding it difficult to get in the win column, lost three more games following its defeat at the hands of Pomfret.  The Golden Knights were dropped by Notre Dame Prep 68-54 despite a herculean 26 point showing by Joe Del Ricci and 17 points from big Dominique Senat.
In the Blackburn Invitational at Worcester Academy Marianapolis lost a first round game to Proctor Academy 70-51.  Del Ricci was once again high scorer for the Knights with 14, while Marley Blommers contributed 10.
The Golden Knights finally got into the Win column with a 74-63 victory over Bradford Christian Academy in the second game of the Blackburn Invitational.  The key to the win was a balanced scoring attack in which four players reached double figures.  Senat was immense, garnering game high honors with 17 points to go with 14 caroms in a double-double performance.  He was joined in double figures by Del Ricci (15), Tyler Burton (13) and Sebastian Ntansah (12).  The Knights are 1-5 on the season. 
Hyde-Woodstock fell to 0-2 in the young season when it was beaten by St. Thomas More 64-56.  The Wolfpack’s Rodney Ray garnered game high honors with 22 points.
Marianapolis Lady Knights Prevail Over Pomfret
Marianapolis and Pomfret, which are physically separated by 10 miles, were much closer on the court as the visiting Lady Knights of Thompson squeaked out a 41-39 win over the host Pomfret Lady Griffins.
Junior Jordan Frye was the big reason for the Marianapolis win as she paced her team with 17 points.  She was joined in double figures by University of New Hampshire-bound Caroline Soucy with 10 points.  Combined, the Frye-Soucy effort offset a game-high 28-point performance by Pomfret’s Alyzae Davis, who was the lone player to reach double digits for the Griffs.
Pomfret at 1-2 then split a pair of contest, beating the Taft School 63-37 and losing to Loomis Chaffee 60-44.  Three players were in double figures in the win over Taft as Olivia Batastini led the way with 25 points followed by Deja Ross with 16 and Davis with 10.  Ross posted 20 and Davis 11 in the loss to Loomis Chaffee.
Marianapolis at 3-1 lost its next game, 74-52 to Tilton Academy in a game played in New Hampshire before rebounding with a 70-56 win over St. Andrew’s.  Frye once again led the way for the Lady Knights with 18 points, while Soucy added 13 in the Tilton contest.  In the victory over St. Andrew’s Nicole Anderson led the scoring parade with 16 points, while the steady Soucy added 13 and Frye had a dozen.
Hyde-Woodstock, which is off to a 0-3 start to the season, lost by 14 points to the Lincoln School in its only game of the week.
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