Amsterdam basketball alumni, faculty, family and friends got together as a community Friday night at the Amsterdam High School gymnasium for a fundraiser to benefit the senior class. Spectators were treated to three games of fun and exciting action featuring many current and past Amsterdam basketball players.
Each game had two halves with a running time of twenty five minutes. The first game pitted members of the current Amsterdam Rams varsity boys basketball team against a team of faculty and alumni. The faculty and alumni held a slim five point lead at halftime but pulled away for a 103-84 win. The game included plenty of three point baskets and a few dunks. The opening contest set the tone for what the night was all about; fun.
“It was fun playing with them,” current AHS varsity standout Marcus Pritchard said. “We’re all friends. This is a great atmosphere. They (the alumni) all still got game, and Carla kills it every day.”
Pritchard was referring to AHS team trainer Carla Pasquarelli who joined the faculty and alumni team for the first game. Pasquarelli drew cheers from the crowd when she connected for a three point goal late in the game.
“It’s been forever,” Pasquarelli said. “It’s nice to show I can still play.”
Pasquarelli’s faculty and alumni teammates included; Doug Edick, Tim Holloway, Carlos Barboza, Tim Jones, Dan Orapello, Chase Frasier, Frank Greco, current AHS basketball coaches Eric Duemler and Matt Vasilow, and former AHS standout TJ Czeski who impressed the crowd with a dunk in the final seconds of the game.
“This was a great time playing on the old court again,” said Czeski who is active within the community as coach and mentor for Wishful Thinking and works with many of the players on the AHS varsity team during the organizations summer league at the Lynch Middle School courts. Playing for the varsity Friday night were; Marcus Pritchard, Kory Bergh, Hector Rodriguez, Juell Springs,Alonzo Martin, Anferny Aponte, James Valentin, Andrew Druziak, and Jamal Robinson.
“This is a great team,” Czeski said of the AHS varsity. “I love working with the kids during the summer league. It was fun competing with them.”
Former AHS girls varsity players competed in the second game of the night. The game featured members of the 2007-2008 team that earned a state ranking among the top teams.
“It was old school versus new school,” Brittany Stahura said. “We didn’t know what to expect, but it was fun getting back together as a community.” After graduating from AHS, Stahura went on to play Division 1 collegiate basketball and graduate from Bryant University. She is now pursuing her masters degree in accounting at Union College, and working at AYCO in Latham.
“It was fun. We had a good time,” she said. Stahura was joined by teammates Allie Zabo, Meghan Power, Ashley Welytok, Christiana Johnson and Ashlee Macdonald. Their competition featured a team with three sisters; Marie Davey, Amanda Davey, and Meghan Mortensen, along with Lisa Young, Brit Alteri, Justine Tesiero and Katie Caddell, who came out on top in the contest 69-43. The evening was all about having a good time
“It was fun playing together with the alumni,” Mandy Davey said. “We had a lot of fun together. We miss the competitiveness though.” Mandy Davey is an assistant coach with both the Amsterdam girls basketball and track and field teams.
Coaches and alumni took the court for the final game of the evening.
“Amazing,” former AHS basketball standout Marco Johnson said. “We love playing here. You get that energizing feeling. This was a lot of fun. A great memory.” Johnson was joined by his brother Dino Johnson on the gold team. His father Mark and brother Antonio were part of the opposing team. The game featured plenty of three point shots, dunks and scoring. The gold team prevailed 111-109.
“This was awesome,” Antonio Johnson said. “Just to play alongside my dad and brothers.”
The game was a family affair for other alumni including the brothers Matt and Adam Vasilow and the Greco’s; Frank, Franki, Chris, and Brett. Nick Davey, Andy Slezak, Charlie Beekman, Brian Barnettt, Dan Martuscello, Vinnie Nicosia, Andrew Robertshaw, Philip Miskinis, Dave Bush, and TJ Czeski all represented the alumni who were supported by family and fiends in the stands.
“It was a great turnout,” said Matt Vasilow, current AHS girls junior varsity head coach and who helped organize the event. “It was fun for all. Hopefully, we can reach out goal for the senior class. Hopefully we can do it again next year.”
The event was the idea of the senior class who are trying to raise $1,000 for their Senior Ball. More events are in the works including a vodka rigatoni dinner on April 22 at the 518 Grill and a spaghetti dinner at the Elks Club in Amsterdam on May 16.
All photos by Scott Mulford.