Boys PG Basketball Gold
The Woodstock Academy names new boys prep basketball head coach
Excited and humbled is how Jacque Rivera described his emotions after learning that he was the choice to be the next head coach of The Woodstock Academy prep boys basketball program.
Rivera will replace Tony Bergeron at the helm of the Centaurs.
Bergeron stepped aside recently to become an assistant coach with the University of Massachusetts Men’s basketball program.
Rivera has been the head coach of the prep basketball program at the MacDuffie School in Granby, Mass. for the last five years.
He has taken MacDuffie to the New England Prep School Athletic Council AA postseason tournament in three of those seasons.
“We’ve had some really good kids. We have guys heading off to UConn (James Bouknight from the 2018-19 team), Ismael (Massoud) is going to Wake Forest. Omari Spellman (now with the Atlanta Hawks) played for me,” Rivera said. “I don’t keep track of my personal record, I care more about the success of my players.”
The 31-year-old Rivera grew up in the Bronx, N.Y. and played for Bergeron in high school at Wings Academy. He moved on to Elms College in Chicopee, MA. where he earned his bachelor’s degree in social work and his Master’s degree in education. His first head coaching job was at Dean Vocational Technical School in Holyoke, MA.
“He’s an outstanding guy. A very passionate coach and person,” said Woodstock Academy Sean Saucier of Rivera. “I think he will be a great fit here. He’s a community-oriented, family guy. We’re very excited to have him.”
Saucier said Rivera’s close ties to Bergeron will help with the program’s transition.
Rivera understands the task ahead of him, comparing it to the person who will eventually succeed Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“I’m following a guy who has had 20 years of success and will continue to have success in college. Everywhere he has been, he has been successful. It’s big shoes to fill. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Coach Bergeron who took me under his wing when I was playing for him,” Rivera said. “I think I have some of the same qualities that he has. I’ve learned some things myself along the way. Hopefully, I’m just going to build on the success he had.”
Bergeron guided the Centaurs to a 73-7 record in their first two seasons as a prep program, winning the Power 5 Conference title in both years and earning two invitations to the National Prep Championship tournament at Connecticut College.
“We had the vision of creating a program that was one of the best in the country and provided great opportunity to student-athletes who were involved in getting into college. In the two years that Tony was here, he far exceeded what our expectations were,” Woodstock Academy head of school Chris Sandford said. “While we’re sorry to see him go, we are honored and happy for him and his family that he has accepted this promotion, essentially, to UMass.”
Rivera said Bergeron has already recruited some very good athletes for the Centaurs next season. His job will be to make sure they end up at The Academy in the fall.
“I really believe the guys we have will fit in our community, going to fit in what we’re asking them to do as people and they will do what we ask them to do athletically. I think we have some really good guys who will be excited to be a part of Centaur Nation as a whole and we have some kids that people will be impressed with,” Rivera said.
Rivera will be the head coach of the program and The Woodstock Academy Gold team. Denzel Washington, who has worked as an assistant with the program for its first two years, will be the head coach of The Woodstock Academy Blue team. Washington takes over for Nick DeFeo who left recently to begin a similar prep program at Notre Dame-West Haven High School.
Mitchell, Weeks commit to UMass
Tre Mitchell took a leap of faith and joined a first-year prep basketball program at Woodstock Academy two years ago.
It netted the native of Pittsburgh and now Woodstock resident a couple of National Prep Championship tournament appearances, a Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year Award and the chance to be the cornerstone of a team that went 73-7 in the past two seasons.
Why not try it again?
The 6-foot-9 forward recently verbally committed to play Division I college basketball for the University of Massachusetts.
Mitchell had offers from more well-established programs such as Syracuse, Indiana, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Providence College.
Instead, he chose the Minutemen.
UMass finished with an 11-21 record this past season and the Atlantic-10 Conference team has not had a winning season since it went 17-15 in the 2014-15 season.
“Of course, there are people who are a little confused as to why I am going to what would be considered a lower program than some of (his other choices), but it’s my life to live,” Mitchell said.
It’s also what he is used to.
“I’ve thought about it a lot. Obviously, some of the other programs were bigger but I like the challenge. My entire life I have kind of been the underdog, I’ve gone unnoticed. I picked (Woodstock Academy) and it was a first-year program. I took a chance and look what I got out of it. I kind of like that idea, that challenge, going in to help turn a program around.”
Mitchell had a little help in his decision.
Fellow Woodstock Academy Gold player T.J. Weeks committed to UMass just a few days before Mitchell.
The two spoke about the school when Mitchell went on his official visit and went over some things that the two had mutual affection for.
“We both kind of came to the conclusion that we wanted to go there together,” Mitchell said.
There was one other eavesdropper.
Another Woodstock Academy Gold player, Preston Santos, had already committed to UMass last fall.
“Preston was in both of our ears, consistently, telling us about the place and once we got there, everything he said was true,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell’s signing gave UMass the top-rated recruiting class in the Atlantic-10 this season.
It also gives the Minutemen a chance for a new start under third-year head coach Matt McCall.
“He kind of cleaned house a little,” Mitchell said. “The players that I met and spent some time with, I really enjoyed. I think we’re going to be great moving forward.”
McCall also showed Mitchell some film of the style of game that the UMass coach envisions for his new recruiting class.
“He showed us films of how he runs sets and things and how to get guys open looks. It’s kind of similar to the way we play (at Woodstock Academy). I think it’s a system that all three of us will be able to thrive in,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell scored over 1,000 points and grabbed over 700 rebounds in a Woodstock Academy uniform over the past two years. He was named Power 5 Conference Player of the Year and tournament Most Valuable Player in each of the last two years.
Earlier in the season, he was debating whether or not he was going to stay at Woodstock Academy for a post-graduate season. Now, that decision and where he will be going next are all behind him.
“It’s nice,” Mitchell said. “No one is hitting my phone any more except the coaches from UMass and I can focus even more than I was before on just developing my body and getting better than I was before to be even more ready when I get there.”
Ten members of the Woodstock Academy Gold Prep basketball team from this past season have now committed to play Division I basketball in the fall.
Mitchell named Gatorade Connecticut Boys Basketball Player of the Year
Before Tre Mitchell was even awake on Friday, his phone was already abuzz.
“I got a couple of text messages and then, everybody just started to blow my phone up at the same time,” Mitchell said.
It’s how The Woodstock Academy senior center learned he was named the Gatorade Connecticut Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
“It’s just an honor to be named as such. There are just so many names that are just so big time, like in the NBA and all over the world, who have been named Gatorade Player of the Year. It’s just nice to be recognized for all the hard work both on and off the court,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell has played for The Woodstock Academy Gold prep basketball team in its inaugural two seasons and has been the cornerstone of a program that has posted 73 wins against just seven losses. It has finished in the top five of the prep basketball rankings nationally in each of those two years.
“Only losing seven games in two years, only two this year, it’s been kind of crazy. Everybody has put in the work and you can see how good the teams have been. It’s just an excellent opportunity for anybody that gets to come here,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell is originally from the Pittsburgh area but has been a resident of Woodstock for the past two years.
The 6-foot-9-inch forward scored over 1,000 points and grabbed over 700 rebounds in a Woodstock Academy uniform over the past two years. Mitchell was named Power 5 Conference Player of the Year and tournament Most Valuable Player in each of the last two years. He is also a McDonald’s All-American nominee.
“You’re talking about a kid who came in at 33 percent body fat and 265 pounds. He’s currently at 13 percent body fat, 230 pounds. He’s upped his vertical leap eight inches. He’s transformed his entire body,” said Woodstock Academy prep basketball coach Tony Bergeron.
Bergeron said while that may sound easy – it’s not.
“What people don’t understand about these kids – they see these kids walking around and think it’s so fantastic for them and so easy – is that they have been uprooted, left all of their family and friends to come here, to make this sacrifice and to put themselves in a better position. It’s extremely difficult for these kids to do that and I commend all of them, certainly Tre,” Bergeron added.
Mitchell is Bergeron’s second Gatorade POY in his 19 years of coaching and working with 170 scholarship players.
Tyreke Evans, who now plays for the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, was the first.
“I love it because it’s a tri-award,” Bergeron said. “You’re talking about an elite level athlete who has to do it academically and has to be of the utmost character. To get it is terrific.”
Mitchell has grown not only as basketball player, but as a person.
“As I said in the Letter of Recommendation (to Gatorade) about Tre, which I was honored to write, he says ‘Hi’ to you every day. He acknowledges you when he walks by you in the hallway. He’s a nice human being. It’s great that he has this wonderful athletic talent, but most important to me as Head of School (at The Woodstock Academy) is that we have produced a fine young man who, no matter what the future holds, will be successful because he has those skill sets,” Chris Sandford said.
Mitchell said the decision to come to The Woodstock Academy proved to be the right one.
“It’s been an excellent opportunity for me. Every single day, I get in the gym and I’m constantly pushed. There is never a day where you relax. You don’t have time off. You are always being pushed to be a better player,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell had considered re-classifying to the Class of 2020 and re-enrolling at The Woodstock Academy for a post-grad year.
“I thought he was a little complacent in December so I told him, ‘Listen, you’re going to do a post-grad year,’” Bergeron relayed. “He didn’t really need one, but I knew that’s what it was going to take for him to step on the gas pedal. To be frank with you, I knew all along he was not staying, but I was the only one. He thought he was (re-classifying). He asked me what he needed to go (on to college) and I showed him the numbers and he reached them. He’s certainly ready. He has great schools (to choose from), can’t make a mistake with any of them and he has aspirations of playing professionally (after college) and I think those are realistic.”
Mitchell, armed with that information, has decided to remain in the Class of 2019.
He has whittled down his college choices to six; Providence College, UMass, Indiana University, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech.
He has not made an official visit to any of those schools.
“I’m not completely sure,” Mitchell said when asked when he planned to make a decision. “I’m not going to put a timeline on it because anything can happen. It’s just when I get that feeling that it’s the right school after I go on these visits. That will be it.”
Centaurs fall in National quarterfinal
The Centaurs lost for only the second time this season and it came against the same team.
Brewster Academy, which knocked off IMG in a first-round game earlier in the day, upset the top-ranked Centaurs, 82-80, in the National Prep championship quarterfinals Wednesday at Connecticut College.
The Bobcats had also beaten the Centaurs,80-77, in New Hampshire on Jan, 26.
The Centaurs (38-2) hit nine 3-pointers in the first half (they finished with 16 in the game) to take a 41-34 advantage, but Brewster Academy rallied in the second half and captured the victory.
Jalen Lecque put the Bobcats up, 80-77, with a layup with 17 seconds left, but the Centaurs weren’t done.
Wichita State-bound point guard Noah Fernandes (12 points) tied the game for Woodstock Academy with nine seconds left on a 3-pointer.
Joel Brown, however, raced up the floor and hit the game-winning layup with six-tenths of a second to play to give Brewster Academy the win.
Tre Mitchell led the Centaurs with 24 points with the 6-foot-9 center stepping outside the paint for five 3-pointers.
T.J. Weeks, Matt Cross and Jacob Toppin all finished with nine points for Woodstock Academy.
Centaurs ranked No. 1 for National Tourney; win Power 5
The Woodstock Academy Gold prep basketball team go into the National Prep Basketball championship tournament this week as the No. 1 seed.
The tournament starts on Wednesday at Connecticut College in New London.
The Centaurs face the winner of the No. 8 Brewster Academy/No. 9 IMG Academy game in a quarterfinal at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Should the Centaurs prevail, the Gold would play in a semifinal game on Thursday morning at 11 a.m. The championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday.
While they may be the top seed, the Centaurs realize that no one in the tournament is going to be an easy out.
In fact, the only loss the Centaurs suffered this season came at the hands of Brewster Academy, 80-77, on Jan. 26.
“Everybody is going to be the same caliber as us,” Centaurs forward Darion Jordan-Thomas said of the championship tournament.
“I want a ring, that’s what I want,” forward Ronnie DeGray said with a laugh. “I think we’re peaking at the right time, but it’s one game at a time. We’re not worried about going home early. We came here to get better, but we also came here to win something.”
Center Tre Mitchell, who played for the Centaurs when they lost in the national semifinals last year, said there is a hunger to succeed this season.
“Last year, we came up a little short. I don’t think that will be the case this year. It would be great to get a (national championship) as a team and be the first team in Woodstock Academy history to accomplish that,” Mitchell said.
The Centaurs have not been heavily challenged since the National Prep Showcase at Rhode Island College in early February.
“We should be serious every game. There is no game that we should not be serious. There is no sleeping especially if we’re all going to be Division I players. When you get to that level, it’s just different,” Jordan-Thomas said.
The Centaurs go in on a high note.
The Gold squad won its second consecutive Power 5 Conference AAA tournament championship at the South End Community Center in Springfield, Mass., 94-73, over Springfield Commonwealth Academy Sunday.
Mitchell scored 18 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for Woodstock Academy, which went into the national championship tournament with a 38-1 record.
Matt Cross chipped in with 18 points and eight boards. Guard Noah Fernandes had 17 points and seven assists.
The Centaurs had it even easier in the Power 5 semifinals.
They put up 76 points on Knox School in the first half and rolled to a 116-64 win Saturday at the Alumni Fieldhouse.
T.J. Weeks hit eight 3-pointers, seven in the first half, and finished with 26 points to lead the Centaurs.
Mitchell added 12 points and Jacob Toppin tossed in 11 as the Gold team completed a second straight year of being undefeated on the Woodstock Academy home floor.
Gold finishes regular season
The starting lineup looked a little different for the Centaurs last Wednesday afternoon.
“(It was) Senior Day and Coach (Tony Bergeron) told all of the seniors to go out and have fun. He let us all start. It was my first (start), but a lot of them already had. We just had a great time playing (Wednesday),” forward Ronnie DeGray said.
The new starting lineup changed little.
The Centaurs walked away with the 119-54 win over Bradford Christian Academy in their final regular season game.
“It’s gone by extremely fast,” Mitchell said of the conclusion of the regular season. “I think it’s just coming in every day and having fun with all these guys that it goes so quickly that you don’t even realize. It’s hard to keep track of.”
The Centaurs had no trouble winning on Wednesday.
Woodstock Academy scored the first nine points in the game and extended that lead to 15 with 11 minutes, 27 seconds left in the first half.
The expected run followed.
The Gold squad led 28-16 with 10:42 left in the half when it reeled off the next 20 points. Weeks hit his only two 3-pointers of the first half in the run and Mitchell (18 points) scored five of his 10 first-half points.
“It’s hard to keep focus,” DeGray said of playing in a one-sided game. “You just have to lock down on ‘D,’ play our game and not play down to the opponents’ level.”
The Sentinels never challenged after that.
The Centaurs led 59-22 at the half and rolled in the second half.
DeGray led six players in double figures with 22.
“I think I could have still shot the ball a little better, but my teammates believed in me to shoot it, so I did,” DeGray said.
Toppin, Danny Dade, Jordan-Thomas and Weeks all finished with 11 points.
Mitchell clears 1,000
Mitchell became just the sixth boys basketball player and eighth basketball player in all to reach 1,000 points in a Woodstock Academy uniform.
The senior did so in a 122-76 win over Masters School on Tuesday.
“”It’s just kind of crazy to think that I’ve only been here two years and I’ve put up (as many points) as I have. It all comes down to opportunity. I’ve been put in the right position to accomplish this,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell came to Woodstock Academy a year ago from Pittsburgh.
The 6-foot-9 center is teetering on clearing the 2,000 point mark as he scored around 900 points in his former high school.
“Maybe I can reach that before the end of the season, but I guess that’s the next step,” Mitchell said. “It’s just wild. It was a goal (in Pittsburgh to reach 1,000 points) but when I came here, I knew it was probably not as common because it’s two years instead of four.”
The prep teams, however, play almost double the regular season that a normal high school team will play.
“I ended up getting it done,” Mitchell said.
Toppin finished with 32 points in Tuesday’s win while Tre Williams added 21.
Centaurs take 34th victory
The Woodstock Academy Centaurs Gold prep basketball team went a little against the norm on Wednesday night.
The Centaurs, generally fast starters, found themselves locked into a battle early with the Springfield Commonwealth prep team.
But a run late in the first half ended all doubt and the Centaurs prevailed for the 34th time in 35 games with a 112-75 win over the Tornadoes at the Alumni Fieldhouse.
“We came out slow, warmed up slow and started out slow. We woke up and turned it up,” said guard T.J. Weeks.
The two teams were tied at 30 when Commonwealth took the lead on a fall away jumper by Josiah Marable (19 points) and a pair of free throws by Emmanuel Ferreras.
It’s not often when an opponent has owned the lead with 5:49 left in the first half against the Gold this season.
The Centaurs took notice and scored 29 of the next 34 points to own a 59-39 lead at the half.
Weeks was a big part of the surge.
The guard hit four of his eight 3-pointers in the run for the Centaurs.
Weeks finished with 37 points, his high this season for the Centaurs, but not his career high as he did score 40 points as a senior in high school in Rhode Island
“(Springfield Commonwealth) left me wide open so I just took my time, used my legs and finished them,” Weeks said of his long-range acumen. “I just found the open spots, my guys found me and I just hit ‘em,” Weeks said.
Weeks came into the game averaging about 15 ½ points per game for the Gold and has become one of the go-to guys for the Centaurs.
“When I’m scoring, it allows the bigs to get open, rebounds get open, the post looks open because my guy won’t help low when I’m scoring so there is room for everyone else to score,” Weeks said.
The Centaurs quickly extended the lead to 30 in the second half after a pair of Tre Williams buckets.
Woodstock Academy cruised to the win from there.
Weeks had 26 points in the first half and seven of those 3-pointers. He was also the leading scorer in the second half for the Centaurs with 11.
That equaled the output of both Preston Santos and Jacob Toppin who finished with 11 points each in the game.
Weeks got off to a slow start this season due to a battle with shin splints.
“I started off slow when I came back too. I’m glad I’ve picked it up,” Weeks said.
His current surge has started to increase the interest level from colleges.
“I’m picking up more interest now since I’m playing better than I was in December. I’m happy about that but I have to keep working,” Weeks said.
Gold wins on President's Day
T.J. Weeks was dominant in the first half and Jacob Toppin picked it up in the second for the Woodstock Academy Gold prep basketball team as it downed Rocktop Basketball on Monday, 113-75, at the Alumni Fieldhouse.
“We were just having fun,” Toppin, who finished with 24 points, said. “Coach (Tony Bergeron) told us at halftime just to have fun and not get hurt. That’s what we did.”
The Centaurs had little to worry about.
Woodstock Academy (33-1) built a 19-point lead in the first 4 ½ minutes of the game against their Philadelphia-based opponents.
Weeks scored nine of his 20 points and Matt Cross added six of his 14 in that early run that saw the Centaurs score the first nine points and stretch it from there to a 23-4 advantage with 15:42 left in the first half.
That lead continued to swell and the Centaurs were comfortably ahead at the break, 66-36.
Bergeron went to the bench often in the second half with those who scored often in the first half yielding to others, including Toppin, in the second.
The 6-foot-6 player from Ossining, N.Y. scored all but two of his points in the second half. That production included four 3-pointers.
“Coach always tells me not to stop shooting. I missed a couple in the first half, but I just kept shooting and it just came back to me,” Toppin said.
Tre Mitchell only scored six points but finished with 12 rebounds. Mikal Gjerde had eight caroms and Darion Jordan-Thomas added seven.
Preston Santos was the only other player in double figures with 10.
“We’re playing very well together,” Toppin said. “We’ve been together for about five months now so we’re playing really good as a unit.”
Toppin admits though the season, as compared to high school, has been pretty long.
“I only played like 20 in high school. It’s difficult, my body is breaking down. My shoulders hurt, my knees hurt, it’s a lot for me,” he said.
There are, fortunately for the Centaurs, only about 2 ½ weeks left of the season.
But Toppin said that’s bittersweet.
“I’m happy and I’m sad at the same time. I don’t want to leave my brothers. We’ve made a family here. I don’t want to leave anybody but I’m also happy because it has been a long season,” Toppin said.
Over the next couple of weeks, Toppin will also have another decision to make.
He has not decided where he will play next.
“I have a few offers and I’m looking to get a few more. I’m going to make my decision soon,” Toppin said.
Centaurs win only game of week
It was an abnormally short week for the Woodstock Academy prep basketball teams.
The Centaurs Gold and Blue teams had only one game on the schedule each after some scheduled weekend action was canceled.
That opened the door for a little shore leave and, possibly, a little wandering of the minds Thursday in games with Redemption Christian Academy at the Alumni Fieldhouse.
“Coach (Tony Bergeron) has given us the next couple of days off (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and I think people are looking forward to that a little too much. We had to keep our focus and come away with the win,” Woodstock Academy center Tre Mitchell said.
The Centaurs Gold team, ranked No. 2 in the country by the 2ndtoNone prep basketball poll, held off a late charge by the Lions and posted a 96-80 win to raise its mark to 32-1.
It’s the second number that Mitchell remembers most.
“It hurts,” Mitchell said with a shake of his head. “That one loss hurts man. I still think about that every day. It was a game we struggled with and it was, obviously, away (at Brewster Academy) and we had a lot of adversity to deal with there. The refs, the crowd, it was tough,” Mitchell said.
The Centaurs were locked in a close battle with Redemption Christian early in the game Thursday until T.J. Weeks got hot.
A Mitchell basket, another by Tre Williams, and a 3-pointer by Noah Fernandes put the Centaurs up, 28-16, and set the stage for the Weeks' assault.
The guard hit four 3-pointers in the matter of a minute and a half and finished with seven treys in the first half when he scored 25 of his 28 points.
“Oh man,” Mitchell said with a laugh. “I love playing with that kid. He is always positive. Something will happen and he will come over and make sure everyone is good and upbeat and ready to keep going.”
The Weeks’ production led the Centaurs to a 58-35 lead at the half.
Mitchell took over in the second half.
He scored 17 of his game-high 31 points in the second half and pulled down the majority of his 17 rebounds.
“I didn’t think I was close to that. I was just doing what I was supposed to and help my team win,” Mitchell said.
The Centaurs needed all of Mitchell’s points.
The Lions roared back and cut it to 12, 84-72, with 3:21 left after a quartet of free throws were made by Eden Holt who finished with 30 points.
The Centaurs scored eight of the next 12 points to guarantee the victory.
The game that Mitchell had shows why he is in so much demand by Division I schools.
Mitchell has an offer from the top-ranked team in the country in the NCAA, Tennessee, as well as UConn, Notre Dame, Illinois, Iowa State, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Xavier and a host of others.
Syracuse University joined the fray by offering the 6-foot-9 center on Tuesday.
“There are a bunch of schools that just started to come in the past two weeks. I’m just looking forward to getting more and weighing out my options,” Mitchell said.
There is also the chance that Mitchell could still re-classify and not choose a college, waiting for the Class of 2020 and playing a post-grad season.
“It’s a possibility,” Mitchell said. “We just have to talk about it at the end of the season and kind of see where things are at.”
31 wins for Gold
The Woodstock Academy Centaurs Gold prep basketball team continued to rack up the wins last week.
The No. 2 team in the country in the 2ndtoNone prep basketball poll raised its record to 31-1 with a couple of victories this past weekend.
“So far, so good,” Woodstock Academy Gold prep basketball coach Tony Bergeron said. “The kids are playing well. A lot of the kids have committed to colleges, a lot of kids have traction. All of our early goals we have already achieved, now it’s just the conference tournament and nationals.”
On Friday, the Centaurs traveled to Granby, Mass. and posted an 88-66 win over MacDuffie School.
Tre Mitchell scored 26 points and pulled down 16 rebounds for the Centaurs in the win while Matt Cross added 17 and T.J. Weeks finished with 13.
“MacDuffie is very talented. James Bouknight has committed to UConn and he’s tough. He dropped 25 against us. Tre Mitchell was unstoppable, dominant down low. He changed the game,” Bergeron said.
Weeks was the high scorer on Sunday when the Centaurs went even further north.
The guard scored 27 points to lead the Gold to a 112-85 win over Lee Academy in the Frank Monahan Basketball Showcase at Bishop Brady HS in Concord, N.H.
The Centaurs hit 21 3-pointers in the game.
“When you come out and do that, you’re going to be in great shape. T.J. Weeks has just been phenomenal,” Bergeron said.
Mitchell again had a double-double in that contest with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Earlier in the week and for the first time in almost a month, the Centaurs Gold Prep basketball team stepped on its home floor to play a game.
“It was awesome,” said Centaurs guard Noah Fernandes. “Even practicing here on (Tuesday night) and shooting around, it was a little different. We were a little off. We weren’t used to the rims. But as we shot, we realized, this is our spot, our home. We always take care of business here.”
The Centaurs, in their first home game since Jan. 17, did just that against Hoosac School, handing the Owls a 101-58 loss at the Alumni Fieldhouse last Wednesday.
“I’ve never been on a 29-1 team,” Fernandes said with a smile. “You really have to enjoy it. It’s tough. You go through the struggles, things like that, but at the end of the day, the kids on the team will probably never play on a team like this ever again. You have to enjoy it and have fun with it.”
The Centaurs, as per normal, jumped out to an early lead.
Fernandes, who led the team with 17 points, had a hand in the early advantage.
He hit a pair of 3’s in the first 1 ½ minutes of the game and Cross (14 points) added a pair of buckets to get the Centaurs out to a 10-0 lead.
Woodstock Academy extended its lead to 20-4 six minutes in before another normal occurrence took place.
The Centaurs let Hoosac School back into the game.
“We got a little flat after that first five or six minutes,” Fernandes said.
The Owls outscored the Centaurs, 20-18, over the remainder of the half and Woodstock Academy went into the locker room with a 38-24 lead.
“That’s sort of been the problem this season. We put teams away in the first few minutes and let them get back into it. Our mindset for the rest of the season is to not give anyone any hope. We just want to go out there, show them what we can do and take the game from there,” Fernandes said.
The Centaurs heard about it in the locker room and answered the bell, with some help from the Owls, at the beginning of the second half.
Hoosac School had one player foul out and another ejected in the first few minutes of the second half.
The Centaurs added the dagger with four 3-pointers in a minute and a half that expanded their lead to 26, 57-31.
“The scouting report was that they play really hard in the first half, but slow down in the second. We knew that. Coach Bergeron told us that (Tuesday) so we tried to jump on them early in the second half,” Fernandes said.
Weeks added 13 points and Jacob Toppin scored 10 for the Centaurs in the win.
Centaurs take 2 at NPSI
The Centaurs Gold prep team raised its record to 28-1 with a pair of victories at the National Prep School Invitational at Rhode Island College over the weekend.
Tre Mitchell scored 19 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in a 76-62 win over Link Year Prep on Friday.
The Centaurs followed that up on Sunday with a 92-64 win over DME Academy.
T.J. Weeks 23 points (4 steals) in the win while Mikal Gjerde added 11 points and Noah Fernandes tossed in 11 points with 6 assists, 3 steals.
4 players nominated; Centaurs suffer 1st loss
Four members of the Woodstock Academy Gold prep basketball team have been nominated by Gold prep coach Tony Bergeron to be McDonald All-Americans.
Ronnie DeGray, Tre Mitchell, Preston Santos and Noah Fernandes are among the 400 boys basketball players in the country nominated for the award.
“The McDonald’s All-American game is for the elite 24 or 25 kids in the country. While I’m sure we don’t have anyone with a chance to make that game, I am quite sure that we have a couple who will make the final 150 and a couple who deserve the nomination. When you are looking through the criteria, you’re looking for character, academics and, obviously, talent. Those four seniors all have good grades, are great kids and they’re all Division I basketball players,” Bergeron said.
The Centaurs did suffer their first loss of the season on Saturday.
Tre Mitchell scored 26 points and pulled down 13 rebounds but Woodstock Academy (26-1) fell to Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, 80-77.
Centaurs win 26th straight; Bergeron captures 400th career win
Woodstock Academy Gold prep basketball coach Tony Bergeron knew it would happen this season.
He just couldn’t predict that it would happen this quickly.
Bergeron needed 24 wins to reach a personal milestone 400 career victories.
The Centaurs Gold prep team did so in just 24 games with an 83-66 win over St. Andrew’s School from Barrington, R.I. Thursday.
“I knew it was going to be a war. As soon as we figured out that the first chance we had at it was going to be a (St. Andrew’s)Mike Hart-coached team, I knew it was going to be a war. I’m super-excited about (the milestone). You would be lying if you said if you weren’t. Four hundred means you lasted a long time and longevity is part of this too. I can’t believe that I needed 24 (wins) coming in and they did 24 straight- that’s crazy,” Bergeron said.
The Centaurs, on Saturday, made it 25 straight with an 84-77 win over Worcester Academy at the BABC Tournament at Cathedral High School in Boston behind 24 Tre Williams’ points. They added a 26th win on Sunday at Springfield College when they downed Montverde Academy, 89-79, at the Hoophall Classic. Ronnie DeGray scored 27 points and Tre Mitchell added 26 points and 13 boards.
The personal milestone came in Bergeron’s 19th season as a head coach.
Bergeron began his coaching career at MacDuffie School in Granby, Mass. where he spent three seasons and posted a 53-32 mark.
He moved on to Wings Academy in the Bronx, N.Y. for four (96-23 record) before going over to the American Christian School in Acton, PA. for two years (54-17).
Bergeron then took a turn from the prep ranks to a high school.
He coached East Longmeadow, Mass. (48-41) for four years,
“You go where you go,” Bergeron said. “I’ve been led from one place to the next and I’m happy to say, it was my choice to be able to move on from every place I’ve ever been. Life’s twists-and-turns have directed me from one place to the next.”
Bergeron returned to the prep ranks at Commonwealth Academy in Springfield, Mass. for five years (90-45) before the offer came from Woodstock Academy last year.
His Centaurs finished 35-5 last season and with his 24 wins this year is now 59-5 as head coach of the Gold program.
“Getting 400 wins is a testament to Tony’s excellence, commitment and dedication to his craft,” Woodstock Academy head of school Chris Sandford said. “It’s an honor to have Tony coach at the Academy and follow the likes of Roy Hale (baseball and girls soccer) and (the late) Cecelia Ingraham (softball, volleyball, girls basketball, girls soccer, field hockey) who had hundreds of victories each.”
Bergeron had a special way to commemorate the milestone.
He reached out to others who helped get him to where he is.
“Every time I do get something like this, I pick up the phone and I call my previous athletic directors, my previous principals and I’ve been doing that all (last week). I told them I had a shot to get my 400th win and thanked them for the opportunity. I also reach out to former players, the ones I’m still in contact with and tell them ‘Thank you and I appreciate it,’ Any time these milestones come up, for me, it’s just a time of reflection. I get to enjoy some teams of the past, and, obviously, the team that you are coaching,” Bergeron said.
Point guard Noah Fernandes was happy he was among those who got to take part in the celebration.
“What I was thinking about when Coach Bergeron talked about Coach Hart getting his 500th win (earlier this season) and I know how rare it is to get those 100 wins. You don’t know what group is going to get him his 500th victory for him so it was just cool to get the 400th. Great atmosphere- one to remember for him,” Fernandes said.
Bergeron said he was happy that the win came against Hart as it gave him a chance to recognize the St. Andrew’s coach for his career milestone.
“This is not so much a celebration of ‘Look what I did’ because at the end of the day, I haven’t scored a point, got a rebound, assist or steal, nor could any of this happened on my own efforts or abilities,” Bergeron said.
Bergeron received a ball from Woodstock Academy to mark the occasion and he was also happy the milestone came with this current crop of Centaurs.
“This is a really special group,” Bergeron said. “To be able to share that with a group like this, I’m excited about that.”
Hart’s Saints did keep it closer than most this season.
The Centaurs nursed a five-point lead at halftime as a lot of shots didn’t fall.
That changed in the second half when Woodstock Academy put down 49 points, including eight 3-pointers, three of them by T.J. Weeks.
Weeks finished with a game-high 24 points.
“He’s been playing great in 2019, shooting it really well, hopefully that continues. If we keep getting production like that off the bench, we’re going to be tough to stop,” guard Noah Fernandes said.
Fernandes and Tre Williams each added 11 points in the win while Matt Cross tossed in 10.
8 celebrate at Woodstock Academy
The Woodstock Academy Centaurs Gold prep basketball team now has eight players headed to Division I programs.
“It’s an awesome thing,” Woodstock Academy prep program head coach Tony Bergeron said. “No one in the country had more than we did. That’s really cool. Just seeing a great group of kids being able to realize their dreams and do it here at Woodstock Academy is very rewarding.”
Trey Anderson (South Carolina); Preston Santos (UMass); Darion Jordan-Thomas (Wagner College); Mikal Gjerde (University of San Diego); Ody Oguama (Wake Forest); Tre Williams (Indiana State); Romar Reid (Manhattan College) and Noah Fernandes (Wichita State) have all recently signed National Letters of Intent to play at the Division I level.
“All different levels of Division I, all over the United States. I think it looks great for our program as far as who is recruiting us; West Coast, down south, the eastern seaboard. To have kids have the opportunity to go to schools in other regions, we’re fortunate,” Bergeron added.
The Centaurs coach is confident there will be more.
“This is the first wave. I stand firm in saying that I think we have 15 Division I kids this year. We have a chance to come close to doubling this number and a bunch going Division II. We will probably put 20-plus kids in four-year schools this year,” Bergeron said.
The Woodstock Academy Gold prep basketball program is currently 17-0 and ranked No. 2 in several national prep school polls.
Centaurs now have 8 Div. I players
Trey Anderson had an exciting Thanksgiving break.
Rather than heading home to sunny San Diego for the holiday, Anderson traveled to South Carolina.
While there, he committed to playing Division I basketball for the South Carolina Gamecocks next year.
“It was a blessing. It’s something I’ve dreamed of and worked toward my whole life,” Anderson said.
It was just some of the good news the Woodstock Academy Gold Prep squad had last week.
The Centaurs also swept through the MacDuffie School Invitational over the weekend and captured a hard-fought win over the Redemption Christian Academy National team last Thursday to raise their record to 11-0.
The Blue squad also posted three wins last week to raise its record to 9-1.
Anderson’s decision to commit to a Division I school raised the number of commitments on the Gold squad to eight already.
Other recent commits included Romar Reid to Manhattan College and Ody Oguama to Wake Forest University.
Anderson, a 6-foot-7 guard, said he didn’t plan to commit to the Gamecocks over the break, but after he saw what he was being offered, had no choice.
“It was an option, but it wasn’t a definite,” Anderson said. “It was the family atmosphere. The way they treated me made me feel like I was a part of the family. I was home.”
Anderson added the campus and the facilities were “at the top of the charts.”
“It’s ridiculous,” he said with a laugh.
They also told him what he wanted to hear.
“They told me they didn’t have a shooter. That’s what I visited for and I felt like it was the perfect fit for me, the perfect situation, I had to end it,” Anderson said.
Anderson said it will make it a lot easier for the remainder of the Centaurs’ season.
He can now focus on team goals including winning the National Prep championship.
Reid decided earlier in the month to commit to Manhattan.
He will join a former Centaurs prep player, Elijah Buchanan, on the Jaspers.
“I believe what Coach (Steve) Mas(iello) talked to me about as far as my role and my future. My family liked it, too, it felt like home. It was an easy decision,” Reid said.
It will be a trip back home for the 6-foot-1 guard who hails from Mt. Vernon, N.Y., essentially in New York City, but he said the lure of the city life was really not a consideration.
“It was more about how I felt about the college, and how it would benefit me in the future because I’m going to be there for four years so that was my main focus,” Reid said.
It wasn’t Reid’s first time that he had been to the school, he had made several unofficial forays, but this time he sat with Masiello. It was that meeting that pushed him over the edge.
“I’m going to fit the offense, the system. They like to play up-and-down, so do I, it fits my game,” Reid said. “Now, I can relax.”
Oguama made his decision before Reid and, unlike his new teammate, a big reason was a chance to go home.
Oguama hails from Knightdale, N.C., about two hours east of Wake Forest.
“It was a major part of my decision,” Oguama said.
Coming to Connecticut this fall opened his eyes about the Northeast.
“I’m not used to the weather, and it will just be nice to be closer to home,” the 6-foot-9 forward said. “It’s a dream come true. Every basketball player growing up wants to play for a high-major program.”
Oguama said the Demon Deacons have counseled him about their need for an impact player on the defensive side who has the ability to clear the glass and defend the rim.
“Run the floor and finish when I need to,” Oguama said.
Other players who have already committed include Noah Fernandes (Wichita State); Mikal Gjerde (San Diego); Preston Santos (UMass); Tre Williams (Indiana State) and Darion Jordan-Thomas (Wagner College).
The Centaurs, battling a little rust from their Thanksgiving break, held off Redemption Christian in Northfield, Mass, 81-76 last Thursday.
Matt Cross led the way with 20 points while Fernandes, Jeremy Robinson, and Santos all added 14 each.
The Centaurs traveled to Granby, Mass. for the MacDuffie School Invitational over the weekend.
The Gold squad had no trouble with George Harris Academy, easily getting past the team from Ontario, Can., 102-35.
Gjerde paced the Centaurs with 17 points while Santos added 14 and Oguama 12.
Tre Mitchell poured in a double-double on Sunday, 12 points and 11 rebounds, to lead the Centaurs to a 72-44 win over New York International Academy.
Matt Cross tossed in 12 points, five rebounds and four assists while Preston Santos added 11 points and four caroms.