psa pg 6 2-1-24

PSA: ‘In Justin
we trust’
“In Justin We Trust.”
That was heard more than once in the celebratory PSA locker room Saturday night, after Justin Johnson scored 25 of his 32 points in the second half, including six in a 13-second span late in the game, to rally the Prep basketball team to a rousing comeback 76-72 win over Bradford Christian Academy.
PSA trailed 68-67 when Johnson hit a 3-pointer from the right corner with 1:16 remaining, giving the Mustangs their first lead since 5-2. After Bradford missed a quick shot in transition, Moustapha Loum rebounded the miss and outletted to Imahri Wooten at center court. Wooten found a streaking Johnson along the left wing, and he used one dribble to beat the defender before taking a hard foul as he laid the ball in at the rim. Johnson converted the free throw and PSA led 73-68 with 1:03 to play.
“It was all of us,” Johnson said. “We won that game as a team.”
PSA trailed by 14 points at halftime and by 19, 48-29, just 90 seconds into the second half before mounting the comeback.
“First (part) of the year, we lose that game,” said coach Tom Espinosa, whose team dropped from No. 1 in the country to No. 15 after posting eight losses in its first 19 games. “But we’ve got a different feel to us now and we figured it out in the second half. We figured it out. I don’t think we played hard enough in the first half, Bradford just outworked us. They just kicked our butts.
“But guys really picked it up in the second half…Ben (Ahmed), Moustapha, Cris (McElveen) was really good, Fallou (Gueye). A lot of guys. And then of course Justin was terrific and hit those big shots at the end.”
Gueye finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists for PSA (17-9), while Ahmed had seven points and 12 rebounds, and Oswin Erhunmwunse added six points, 10 boards, and three blocks.
The win backed up two much different but equally impressive wins earlier in the week when PSA took down No. 5 South Kent Tuesday with a wire-to-wire 109-79 victory and a 98-72 dismantling of Brimmer & May Thursday, wins that sent a clear message to the rest of the prep basketball world.
“We’re the defending back-to-back national champions,” Espinosa said after the South Kent game. “That’s the message. We’re playing hard, we’ve got our rhythm. And I think we have some of our swagger back.”
Tuesday, Johnson continued his strong all-around play with 17 points, five rebounds, three assists, and a steal. Tony Williams had 12 points and five assists, Que Duncan had 12 points and five rebounds, and Ben Ahmed finished with 14 points and eight boards. Grant Randall added 10 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and three steals, and Imahri Wooten chipped in with 10 points for PSA.
Thursday, it was the Ben Ahmed show as the big man dominated play inside by scoring a career-high 34 points and pulling down 15 rebounds to lead PSA.
Gueye put together another solid performance running the point, finishing with 13 points, six rebounds, six assists, and just one turnover. Williams added nine points, six assists, and four steals, and Johnson scored 15 points for PSA (14-9).
PSA has now won six in a row by an average of 23.5 points.
Stephen Nalbandian
Sports Information Director
Putnam Science Academy


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