Putnam Science Academy’s boys’ varsity basketball team has had an unbelievable season to this point, and not always in a good way. The Mustangs had split their first 18 games, but eight of the losses, including one on Jan. 21, were by five points or less.
With that as the backdrop, the team was facing more adversity on Jan. 23 when it had to play with just eight in uniform, as five players were out for a variety of reasons. Three of those were starters and a fourth played regular minutes. That left PSA with five regulars and three little-used reserves.
And wouldn’t you know it, but those three reserves — Ivan Aires, Barry Hao, and Pablo Perez — made major contributions, keying one of the best wins of the season, a 96-65 blowout over Nichols College JV.
“Everybody works in practice,” said coach Dana Valentine. “All 13 guys work their asses off, and they all deserve minutes and they all deserve to play, so really, this wasn’t a huge surprise to me. If I could play 13 guys and the game was longer, all those guys deserve minutes. I think we saw in this game how deep of a team we really do have.
“The biggest message out of that 30-point win is that if we can come with that energy and that intensity and if we can share the ball like that, we’ll be a much better team. When we’re all playing the right way, we can do some good things.”
Jaden Brewington led the way with 23 points, Aires, Zach Boulay, and Jawed Belaid went for 14 points each, Ty Drummer had 13, and Luc Brittian finished with 10 for the Mustangs, who are now 11-9.
Said Brewington: “Barry did a great job, hit a big-time 3-pointer for us going into halftime. Pablo came out aggressive, hit a bucket coming right into the game. Ivan, he is definitely the energy of our team. He’s something else. He obviously scored real well for us.
“The guys exceled. They came through when the time mattered. A lot of guys who don’t play a lot of minutes, they stepped up and they proved that they deserve minutes.”
That was also the team’s third game in three nights. They lost the first one, 105-101 to Bridgeport Prep, despite 28 points from Luc Brittian. Zach Boulay chipped in with a season-high 18 points, Brewington and Darryl Simmons both scored 14, Travis Mangual had 12, and Amir Sanders 10 for the Mustangs.
PSA bounced back the next night, using more balanced scoring to topple Rectory 73-52, behind 10 points apiece from Brittian, Brewington, and Simmons. Ty Drummer added nine points, Sanders eight, and Boulay seven for the Mustangs.
The PSA boys’ prep team won two games as well, both against Thetford Academy, on Jan. 24 and 25. The Mustangs took the first game 95-29, getting 21 points from D’Maurian Williams, and 17 points, eight assists, six steals, and four rebounds from Hassan Diarra.
They also got big games from Josh Gray (14 points, eight rebounds), Elijah Hutchins-Everett (12 points, seven rebounds), Terrell Ard Jr. (seven points, eight rebounds), and Johnnie Williams (nine points).
It was more of the same the next afternoon, this time in an 80-52 win. Gray had 16 points and 13 rebounds as PSA improved to 20-1.
Vlad Goldin finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Mekhi Gray, D’Maurian Williams, and Johnnie Williams all had 11 points for the Mustangs. D’Maurian Williams has been on fire for PSA, averaging 17.3 points per game over his last four game, making 63.2 percent of his shots (24-of-38), including a scorching 76.4 percent (13-of-17) of his 3-pointers.
The PSA boys’ varsity 2 team went 3-1 on the week, starting with a 56-42 win over Bartlett on Jan. 21. The Mustangs were led by Michael Phav and Joey Pezzano, who scored 11 points apiece. Two days later, Erwan Menguy dropped 20 points, and Alonzo Henries and Khalil Gooden chipped in with 11 points each in a 62-58 win over Redemption Christian Academy.
The highlight of the week came in the next game, a 63-42 victory over Ellis Tech. Valentin Maiolo led the team with 17 points, and Joey Pezzano added 12 and Alessio Figlia 11 but the gym went crazy late in the game for Caden Wu, when he banked in a 3-pointer for his first points of the season.
On Jan 26 the PSA Varsity 2 team dropped a game to New York Military Academy 73 to 53.  Javier Cobo had 15 points and Alonzo Henries added 11, but PSA dropped the game. Michael Phav finished with nine points for the Mustangs.
There was just one game all week on the girls’ side, an 82-64 win for the varsity team over Redemption Christian Academy. Zanashia Croft scored 20 points to lead a balanced scoring attack for PSA. Bri Mead finished with 15 points, May Santiago 14, Aden Edebali 13, and Brittney Etuka 11 for the Mustangs.
The girls’ prep team had two games cancelled over the weekend.
Stephen Nalbandian
Sports Information Director
Putnam Science Academy


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