taking pg 8 11-9-23

It’s not exactly the way she drew it up in her mind, but hey, Khaya Skene is thrilled with the way things have worked out.
Skene, a postgrad student on Putnam Science Academy’s girls basketball team, was originally recruited to the school by former coach Devin Hill. At the time a senior at Ethel Walker School, she visited PSA last season, taking in a game and a practice before committing for this year.
Then Hill resigned and took a job closer to home. Skene decided to take a shot and stay with PSA, and felt good about it when Bria Holmes, a former WNBA player, was named as the new coach. But when that fell through in late summer, Skene really had no other choice but to stay and hope for the best with new coach Greg Canzater.
“Honestly, I completely love it here,” said Skene, who is from Cromwell. “My favorite thing is playing with all these international girls. I’ve never experienced that before, and it has taught me so much. I feel like my communication skills have developed so much. They know what we’re talking about but just breaking things down to them in our way, whether basketball or whatever. I give them my point of view and it’s like, ‘Oh we get it!’ but it’s something that goes both ways. All the time, both ways.”
Her two months at PSA have been the classic case of “you get out of it what you put into it.”
She said that some of the conversations she had with her dad before getting to the school revolved around her focusing only on herself as a basketball player. She wasn’t going to talk to any of the guys at the school, she wasn’t going to be too friendly with the other girls. She was just going to worry about getting a college scholarship and getting out.
“That didn’t last. I have just fallen in love with everybody here,” said Skene, who had a team-high 24 points in last Wednesday’s 65-62 loss to Busche Academy in PSA’s season opener. “My teammates, other students, the teachers…everyone is just calm, cool, and collected. People here have a real appreciation for a lot of things.”
The plan is to still earn scholarship offers and to do so she is putting her faith in Canzater to help her but also “trusting the process of having so much fun with my teammates now that I’ve gotten here and experienced everything.”
Kate Lipatova, from Russia added eight points, 17 rebounds, two blocks, and two steals, while Spaniard Carlota Lopez finished with 15 points and four steals.
PSA’s Helin Yoztyurk, from Turkey, had a good look at a potential game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds, but it wouldn’t go down. Tatiana Bell, like Skene a Connecticut native, grabbed 10 rebounds for PSA, which trailed 65-55 with four minutes to go.
“I liked our fight, I liked that we didn’t give up,” Canzater said. “We just continued to make the same mistakes that eventually cost us the game. But we’ll be OK.”
PSA played its second game on Nov. 15. The Mustangs are currently scheduled to be off until Nov. 27 and has its next home game slated for Nov. 29.
Stephen Nalbandian
Sports Information Director
Putnam Science Academy


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