Past Issues of the Putnam Town Crier

PSA Prep
team wins
Power 5
The motto at this point in the basketball season is always “survive and advance.” Don’t apologize for any wins, don’t focus on too many negatives in a win. Just survive and advance.
Putnam Science Academy’s Boys’ Prep team did just that Sunday, winning the Power 5 Conference Tournament with an 80-73 victory over Commonwealth despite struggling in a lot of different facets of the game.
“After a game like this, I do have to remind myself that a win is a win,” said PSA coach Tom Espinosa. “Especially at this time of year. You’re in a championship game, so obviously you’re playing someone that’s playing well, playing hard, playing as a team. I give a lot of credit to Commonwealth.
“But at the same time, I’m proud of our guys. Some guys individually, didn’t have a great game. And as a team, we didn’t play great, offensively or defensively. But we still won. That shows you how good this team is.”
Mouhamed Dioubate finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds, three steals, and three assists in the win. Oswin Erhunmwunse added 14 points and eight rebounds, Baye Ndongo had nine points and six boards, and Ben Ahmed finished with 10 points for PSA (35-3), which opens defense of its national championship Wednesday.
“It means a lot to win this, honestly,” Dioubate said. “We’ve been working hard, everyone is buying in now, and this is a reward for it. We really want the national championship, but we are definitely appreciative of this.”
Dioubate enters the final games of his career needing 48 points to reach 1,000 in his career, and 11 rebounds to become PSA’s all-time leader in that category.
The Mustangs led 54-40 five-and-a-half minutes into the second half after Ndongo threw down an eye-popping alley oop and Duane Thompson drained a 3-pointer. But Commonwealth fought back and trailed just 77-73 with 15.3 seconds left. Ndongo missed front end of a 1-and-1 but Erhunmwunse grabbed the offensive board, laid it back in while getting fouled, then made the free throw to put the game away for good.
“A win is a win, and a championship is a championship,” Espinosa said. “I told them before the game to not take it for granted. A lot of these guys are going to college next year and it is really hard to win a championship in college. Regular season, conference, national championship…it’s really, really difficult.
“I told them they deserved this. I want them to enjoy it and appreciate it. Then (Monday), we can start focusing on our next goal, which is back-to-back national championships.”
It sounds like Dioubate was already thinking about that late Sunday evening.
“I’m very excited for Wednesday,” he said. “We’ve been waiting on this since we got here in August, we’ve been talking about it since August. That moment is finally coming. I can’t wait for it.”
Stephen Nalbandian
Sports Information Director
Putnam Science Academy


The following charges were listed in the Putnam Police Department logs.  The people charged are innocent until proven guilty in court. The Town Crier will publish dispositions of cases at the request of the accused. The dispositions must be accompanied by the proper documentation. The Putnam Police Department confidential Tip Line is 860-963-0000.
Feb. 19
Colby Litchfield, 22, Little Pond Road, Woodstock; operating under the influence, failure to drive in right lane, failure to have head lamp lit.
Feb. 21
Timothy A. Bisson, 38, homeless; disorderly conduct, second-degree threatening, second-degree criminal mischief, interfering with an officer/resisting, first-degree criminal trespass, third-degree assault on elderly.


Darryl Simmons became Putnam Science Academy’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made on Feb. 21 when he drained one from the left wing roughly midway through the first half of the Mustangs’ 104-52 win over We Believe Academy.
“I’m leaving a mark until I leave here,” said Simmons, who also still has a chance to join the school’s 1,000-point club. “I’ve got to let people know there’s a new leader to chase!”
Simmons’ first 3 of the game was the record-breaker and came on his second attempt. He entered the game tied with Hassan Diarra with 140 3s in his career. He finished with three 3’s among his 15 points.
As for passing his friend and former teammate Diarra, Simmons said: “Hass was a guy who was here for a long time and he set a lot of records and set a high standard. So to break one of those records and continue to set a high standard myself, like he did, it’s a big deal.”
Tom Espinosa said, “It’s a special record. Obviously, you have to be a terrific shooter, and Darryl is. He’s worked hard at that. And you have to be here for multiple seasons and be on the court enough. Darryl and his family have trusted PSA since he was in eighth grade, and he worked his way onto the Prep team at the end of his third year, and he’s been a leader for us ever since. He could end up with the 3-point record, 1,000 points, and three national championships. He will always be one of the names associated with the Mustangs.”
Simmons and the Mustangs finished their regular season this past weekend and open postseason play this weekend with the Power 5 Conference Tournament. The National Tournament will be held March 8-10 at Clark University. PSA is guaranteed to play at least four games in the postseason, and could play as many as six. Simmons enters the playoffs with 144 career 3-pointers and 893 points. He is averaging 11.3 points per game for the 33-3 Mustangs.
Stephen Nalbandian
Sports Information Director
Putnam Science Academy


WOODSTOCK — Growing Gardeners: a Symposium will be presented by the Quiet Corner Garden Club on April 1 at QVCC in Danielson.
Sessions run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Check-in time begins at 8:30. For registration and tickets go to
Lanette Lepper, Symposium originator and organizer said: “The past few years have seen a huge increase in gardening popularity and we wanted to provide an educational event for gardeners in our community. There will be something for everyone whether they grow flowers or vegetables or both.”
Tovah Martin, author, horticulturist and Quiet Corner native, is the Keynote speaker. Tovah will present ‘Gardening as if the World Depends on Us’ and ‘Maximizing Space in the Garden: Creating More of a Good Thing’.
Breakout sessions throughout the day include such topics as ‘Good Bug, Bad Bug’, Pollinators, Photographing the Garden, Daylilies, Shade Gardens, Mushroom Foraging, How to Grow Micro Greens, Fantastic Vegetable Varieties, Natives Plants for Wildlife, Extending the Seasons, Herbs, and information on the Master Gardener Program, plus a seed swap and  exhibitors and vendors, too.
 “We are grateful to have the generous sponsorship of The Putnam Area Foundation and Quinebaug Valley Community College,” said Elaine Turner, president of the club.

Ben Ahmed. Thomas Netzer photo.

As PSA’s Prep basketball team concluded its regular season as the Power 5 conference champions, the Mustangs now have two goals remaining: a conference tournament title, and of course, another national title.
PSA beat Commonwealth 67-50 Saturday to finish 10-0 in the conference, and 33-3 overall, leaving coach Tom Espinosa feeling good about the way his team is playing.
“We’ve won a lot of close games where we had to be tough,” he said, “and that’s how we want to be. There are a lot of good teams out there, especially when we get to the national tournament, so we have to be ready to play close games and be tougher than our opponents. We haven’t always been that way this year, so to be doing it now going into the postseason is a good thing.”
The headline again last week for the Mustangs – who won all three of their games – was the pursuit by Mouhamed Dioubate and Darryl Simmons of some career milestones. Simmons hit one, and Dioubate moved much closer to three more. Simmons hit career 3-pointer No. 141 to move past Hassan Diarra and into first place on the school’s all-time list. Simmons still needs 107 points to reach 1,000 for his career.
Dioubate meanwhile finished the week with 35 points and 35 rebounds in the three games. He now needs just 80 points for 1,000 in his career, 26 rebounds to become the school’s all-time leader, and 71 rebounds to set the school’s new single-season record. The Mustangs have at least four postseason games coming up, and could play as many as six. Dioubate is averaging 14.2 points and 9.7 rebounds this season.
The Power 5 Tournament gets underway in Springfield on Friday; the National Prep Tournament begins March 8 at Clark University.
In Tuesday’s 104-52 win over We Believe Academy, Dioubate had 16 points and 16 rebounds, Baye Ndongo tallied 14 points and 10 rebounds, Ben Ahmed had 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Duane Thompson finished with 10 points, four assists, and three steals. Muazabini Adamu added eight points and 10 boards for the Mustangs, who had 32 offensive rebounds and 70 overall.
Ndongo, Ahmed, and Thompson combined to make all 19 of their shots and finish with 44 points Friday in a 102-73 win at Busche Academy. Ndongo went 8-for-8 (including one 3-pointer) from the field to finish with 17 points; Ahmed went 6-for-6 and finished with 15 points, while also grabbing five rebounds and blocking two shots; and Thompson went 5-for-5 (including a pair of 3s) for the Mustangs. Dioubate had six points and 10 rebounds.
Saturday, Ahmed had a double-double, Blake Barkley pulled down double-digit rebounds, and Thompson scored in double figures for the third straight game as PSA beat Commonwealth 67-50. Dioubate had 13 points and nine boards. Ahmed had 13 points and 10 rebounds for his 10th double-double, Barkley grabbed a season-high 10 boards, and Thompson finished with 12 points, while Oswin Erhunmwunse added eight points and eight rebounds in the win.
PSA’s Boys Elite team split their two games this week, topping Commonwealth 69-66 Saturday behind 18 points from Thierry Lokrou. Travis Upchurch added 15 points, while Jalen Claude and Anthony O’Brien both chipped in 12 for the Mustangs.
They lost their final home game Tuesday, falling 81-71 to Evangel Christian Academy. Yhali Steinhauer scored 21 points for the Mustangs, who were down five players - including two of their top three scorers - due to illness, Tyler Hanson took advantage of more playing time and finished with 17 points, making five 3-pointers along the way.
Also Saturday, the Girls Select team lost at Hoosac, 66-56, despite a game-high 23 points from Astou Ndiaye. Zuzanna Komor added 13 points and Keyani Jackson finished with nine for the Mustangs.
Stephen Nalbandian
Sports Information Director
Putnam Science Academy


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