PSA girls
take wins ---
This wasn’t the challenge she was looking for.
Putnam Science Academy girls’ prep basketball coach Amanda Morales had her team scheduled for three games in three days (which actually made it six games in nine days) before it could break for the holidays.
What she didn’t know was that three players were going to be unavailable for the Rivers Holiday Tournament (a fourth was excused to miss the games, and a fifth was out with a concussion), which forced her to go with just seven players in those three games.
Things didn’t get off to a good start on Dec. 19 when three of the seven Mustangs fouled out of the first game in a 42-36 loss to Bradford Christian Academy. Lani Cornfield and Sabou Gueye had 10 points apiece for PSA, which handled BCA easily just 12 days earlier in a 15-point win. This was a different story though, as the Mustangs had to finish the game with just four players on the court.
The team bounced back impressively the next two afternoons however, dropping The Rivers School 53-49 and then Tabor Academy, 49-42.
“It was a total team effort,” Morales said of the first win. She was right. Delaney Haines had 20 points, four rebounds, and three steals; Shawni Cornfield had 11 points and four assists; Gueye finished with 14 points. But there was more.
“Sabou and Shawni had total control of the boards, really showcasing their athleticism,” Morales said. “Lani (Cornfield) has complete command of the offense. Her decision-making was near perfect. Delaney hit a couple of huge 3s and sank two big free throws as well. Sabou was sensational. Lucie (Castagne) did a phenomenal job of shutting down their best scorer. It was a great team win.”
The win over Tabor was propelled by Gueye’s phenomenal all-around game. She finished with 19 points, six rebounds, three assists, four steals, and four blocked shots. Haines hit five 3-pointers and added 19 points for the Mustangs, who went into their well-earned break with a 10-4 record.
“I am so proud of these girls,” Morales said.
Boys’ Basketball
PSA’s boys’ prep and Varsity 2 teams also played before break, but neither faced anything like the obstacles the girls did. In fact, the prep team played one of its most efficient games of the season on Dec. 16 in a 127-97 win over Master’s, a game that was even more lopsided than the score shows. And that was its third game in three days as well, after playing twice in New York City that weekend.
The Mustangs (14-1) absolutely shot the lights out in that one, making 34-of-48 (70.8 percent) of their 2-point field goal attempts, 15-of-36 (41.6 percent) of their 3-pointers, and 14-of-16 (87.5 percent) of their free throws.
“I was a little nervous but they had a lot of energy, a lot of confidence, everybody shot the ball really well,” said PSA coach Tom Espinosa. “We’re deep, we’re athletic, and we can wear teams down.”
D’Maurian Williams had 21 points to lead PSA. He made 7-of-10 shots, including 5-of-7 on 3s.
“The rim definitely feels bigger,” Williams said, “and it definitely feels like I can shoot any shot on the court. My teammates did a good job of finding me open and giving me the opportunity.”
Said Espinosa: “D’Maurian is very confident when he has the ball in his hands. He doesn’t think anyone can stop him, and a lot of times people can’t. Today was one of those days…you play up on him and he’ll go by you, you lay off of him and he can really shoot the ball.”
Marty Silvera finished with 17 points, Terrell Ard Jr. added 12 points and eight rebounds, JuJu Murray 12 points and six assists, Vlad Goldin 11 points and eight rebounds, Julian Dozier 10 points and six assists, and Josh Gray 10 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks for the Mustangs (14-1), who led 70-37 at the half.
“We definitely bounced back from that loss,” Williams said. “That loss was just off effort, not off anything else. We decided we were going to fix that and not let teams compete with us.
“The only way we can lose is effort because we have all the talent in the world.”
The only other game on the schedule last week was the Mustangs’ Varsity 2 team, which got 16 points off the bench, all in the second half, from Harrison Bauer in an 82-55 win over Hillside. Kevin Ravix and Erwan Menguy both had 12 points, and Nick Renshaw finished with 11, also off the bench, for the Mustangs (4-2).
Stephen Nalbandian
Sports Information Director
Putnam Science Academy

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