The first season for the Woodstock Academy prep basketball program came to an end last week with the Centaurs Gold team posting a 35-5 record.
“It was a great first year. We had really good kids and we’re excited about how many of them are making their way to college with scholarships,” said coach Tony Bergeron.
The Centaurs Gold team qualified for the National Prep Championship at Connecticut College in New London and lost in overtime to eventual national champion, Putnam Science Academy, in the semifinals.
The Gold squad also won the Power 5 Conference tournament.
“Those (achievements) are for the kids and for the school, I was excited about that. For me, my goal is college for free for all of my kids so until I get that, I’m not done. But any time you have a chance to hang a banner and play basketball on the very last day of the season is a good thing,” Bergeron said.
Junior center Tre Mitchell was named the Co-Player of the Year in the Power 5 Conference.
Teammates Luis Rodriguez, Jakigh Dottin, Joe Kasperszyk, Jeameril Wilson and Ty Perry were also named All-Conference Players while Perry, who recently committed to Fordham, was named the Most Outstanding Player in the AAA Power 5 Conference tournament.
The Centaurs fell to the Mustangs in overtime, 80-72, in a national semifinal March 8.
The Centaurs trailed by seven at the half and fell behind by as many 13 before they rallied.
Dottin tied the game at 52 with 6:45 left in regulation.
The score was tied again at 57 when the Centaurs went on a 7-1 run to open a 64-58 advantage. Unfortunately for Woodstock, a 3-pointer by Kasperszyk with 3:59 left was its next-to-last basket of the second half.
The 1-for-8 performance from the floor for the remainder of regulation by the Centaurs allowed Putnam Science to tie the game at 67 with 1:58 left on a bucket by Osun Osunniyi (13 points, 13 rebounds).
Kasperszyk, who lifted the Centaurs into the semifinals with the game-winning bucket with 3.7 seconds left against Brewster Academy, couldn’t repeat the feat. His shot from half court just before the buzzer hit the rim, but bounded away.
Osunniyi hit the first two baskets of the extra period to give the Mustangs a cushion that they would carry into the final minute.
The Centaurs also went into overtime in the quarterfinal game where they prevailed over Brewster Academy, 94-93.
With 11.7 seconds left on the clock in overtime, Brewster Academy’s Joel Brown stepped to the line.
Brewster was up by a point and Brown had a one-and-one opportunity.
He did what the Woodstock Academy Gold Prep team were all hoping he would do.
Brown missed the front end.
There was only one thought in the mind of Kasperszyk.
“We’ve got to score,” said Kasperszyk, the former Hillhouse High standout.
Mitchell pulled down the rebound and tossed the outlet to Dottin. The guard from Cambridge, Mass., saw Kasperszyk breaking down the left side and delivered the pass.
Kasperszyk scored the game-winning basket, shielding a defender with his left hand while he laid the ball in with his right with 3.7 seconds left to send his team into the semifinal.
“The program has started off so positive and these kids have set the bar so high that the kids that follow will have a lot of work to do,” Bergeron said.
The season may be over, but Bergeron said the work for him has just begun.
While he continues to work on college placements for the current crop of athletes, he is also engaged in bringing the next crop in.
More than 120 have already indicated interest in coming to Woodstock Academy.
“A lot of work, always a lot of work,” Bergeron said with a shake of his head. “The easiest time is when you have them on campus and you are working with them. Now, it’s time to put the team together. Make sure you get the right kids who will compete and fit into this school,” Bergeron said.
The Blue prep squad also received some postseason honors.
Gedi Juozapaitis was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Power 5 Conference AA tournament and was also chosen as an All-Conference player. Joining him on the All-Conference list was E.J. Dambreville, Alex Ilic and Danny Dade.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director


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