psa pg 7 11-16-23

The good news is that the season isn’t even 10 games old. Because PSA’s Prep basketball has some things to figure out after a difficult week.
After suffering just three losses over the last two seasons on their way to national titles, the Mustangs lost two games last week alone.
It started on Tuesday when Hoosac hit 3-pointer after 3-pointer – including one with 1.2 seconds left in the game – and handed PSA its first loss, 103-102.
It ended Sunday night, when the Newman School likewise hit a final-second shot in overtime, knocking off the Mustangs, 76-75.
But doubters beware, the sky is not falling at 18 Maple St. “We have been spoiled with our success,” coach Tom Espinosa said. “Losing is not something we’re used to, it’s not something we like. But I still like this group. We need more of a chip on our shoulders and a little more swagger. But we’re going to get better. I have no doubts about that.
“Sometimes you have to give the other teams credit too. Both teams hit a lot of shots. We weren’t great, we made some costly turnovers or we didn’t shoot it well from the free throw line, whatever it may be. And then both teams made shots. Give them credit.”
As a point of reference, Alex Pachuki hit 14 3’s for Hoosac en route to 48 points. That loss ended PSA’s 26-game winning streak dating back to last season.
Justin Johnson had 22 points and Dame Givner finished with 21 points, seven assists, four rebounds and, and four steals in that game. Ben Ahmed added 15 points and seven rebounds, while Mekhi Conner chipped in with 12 points, six assists, and two steals.
Sunday night, Johnson went for 27 points, Ahmed had 15 points and 21 rebounds, and Que Duncan finished with 14 points, six rebounds, and three steals. PSA had the ball with nine seconds to go in regulation, but its final shot was off the mark and sent the game to overtime.
“We had a shot, didn’t make it. They had a shot in overtime and made it,” Espinosa said. “It is what it is. Give our guys credit too, I thought the effort was there. We were down at halftime and they really could have buried us. But our guys showed fight and got back into it. Like I said, we’ll be all right.”
In between the losses were a pair of wins – 118-86 over We Believe Academy and 85-75 over Brewster.
Duncan, Johnson and Ahmed led the attack in those games as well. Duncan had 20 points and seven rebounds against We Believe, then scored 15 points against Brewster; Johnson, a high-volume scorer, finished with 15 against We Believe and 22 against Brewster; and Ahmed had his way against We Believe, finishing with 17 and nine, then following up with a career-high 27 points against Brewster to go along with nine rebounds.
Stephen Nalbandian
Sports Information Director
Putnam Science Academy


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