Sometimes good teams lose games. The Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity basketball team was reminded of that fact Friday night at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Lucy and Sophie Tougas combined to score 36 points leading the Glens Falls Lady Indians over Amsterdam 49-40 in the first ever Foothills Council championship game and ended the Lady Rams 16 game win streak.
“This wasn’t our best game,” Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler said. “We bobbled the ball and had too many turnovers in the first half.”
Glens Falls came out fast and strong in the first quarter with both Tougas sisters scoring for a 4-0 lead. Amsterdam tried to match that intensity but turned the ball over several times in the opening minutes and didn’t score until 3:49 of the first period when Maria Lamonto connected from long range cutting the lead to one at 4-3. The two teams battled for every loose ball with the possession arrow changing often during a physical first quarter. The Lady Rams looked to take the lead on their next trip down the floor, but Emilie Moses intercepted a pass into the Lady Rams front court and sped the other way putting the Lady Indians up 6-3 and starting a 6-0 run for Glens Falls. The Lady Indians were quicker to the ball.
“We knew they had athletic girls, and we had athletic girls,” Glens Falls coach Mark Girard said. “The last time we played they were quicker to the ball. Tonight we were quicker to the ball. We had the energy.”
Lady Rams freshman forward Giuliana Pritchard stopped the run with a put back close to the rim closing out the first quarter with Glens Falls in front 9-5. Nina Fedullo got AHS closer netting a pair of free throws cutting it to 9-7, but Glens Falls kept getting the tips and deflections that normally benefit the Lady Rams game. The Lady Indians and Lady Rams battled for every rebound and despite getting out-rebounded with Pritchard finishing with 11, and Fedullo grabbing 10 boards, the Lady Indians made their chances count leading to an 11-1 run and breaking the game open for a 20-8 lead. Amsterdam didn’t convert from the floor or the free throw line and missed a string of six straight attempts from the stripe before the half ended.
“Our shots didn’t fall in the first half,” Amsterdam senior captain Caitlin Gannon said. “We played together and didn’t quit.”
Giving up was not part of the Lady Rams vocabulary. Amsterdam made a pair of runs at Glens Falls in the second half trying to get the momentum to swing their way.
The Lady Rams leading scorer, Fedullo kept working her way to the rim drawing fouls along the way. She stopped an early third quarter surge by the Tougas sisters and Taylor Scarincio with one of her own collecting a pair of free throws after a steal at mid–court and a long distance three slicing Glens Falls’ lead to 28-21. Fedullo scored eight of her team high 15 points in the third, and the Lady Rams ended the quarter on a 5-2 run trailing 37-28 headed to the final period. Amsterdam kept trying. Fedullo found the net again for the first points of the fourth, and after Sophie Tougas responded with a pair, Gannon , as she has done many times before, kept her team in the game with a three point shot. Despite missing her first four attempts from long range, Gannon never stopped trying and brought a strong contingent of AHS faithful to their feet with 6:49 left to play. The Lady Rams were within striking distance at 39-33. But, just when it seemed the momentum was about to swing, Glens Falls responded again.
“We kept them at an arms distance,” Glens Falls coach Girard said. “Whenever they scored, we answered.”
Glens Falls scored ten of the next twelve points with their top scorers on the night Sophie Tougas (18 pts), Lucy Tougas (18 pts.), and Scarincio (7 pts.) all contributing to give the Lady Indians a 49-35 lead with only a minute to play.
“Give credit to Glens Falls, they earned it,” Coach Duemler said. “Their two sisters (Lucy and Sophie Tougas) scored a lot of points.”
“We tried to stay together and play our game,” Gannon said. “We played hard and never gave up.”
Amsterdam outscored Glens Falls 26-25 in the second half. Lamonto showed the ‘never say die’ attitude that has brought the Lady Rams several comeback wins this season when she scored the last five points of the game on a three pointer and on a steal with the clock ticking down that led to a drive to the rim as the horn sounded. Lamonto (11 pts.) got the start in place of junior point guard Kaitlyn Devine who was absent for the game.
“We’re going to play with who’s here,” Coach Duemler said. “I have faith in the girls that are here. This is a great experience for the girls to come here and play at the Civic Center. This is only going to benefit us going into sectionals.”
Gannon and Brady Santiago each finished with five points for AHS. Pritchard and Autumn Duemler had two each, and Grace Catena contributed a pair of assists. Every Lady Rams player that touched the floor had at least one rebound. As a team, Amsterdam collected 39 rebounds to Glens Falls 17. The Lady Indians also got three points from Nora Borgas and one from Jasmine Matos.
The loss was the first in New York State this season for Amsterdam (16-3 overall, 13-1 Foothills). The Lady Rams have three wins over Class A top 25 teams with two coming against Foothills South rival Scotia-Glenville, and a 64-52 win over Glens Falls back on January 13th at Amsterdam High School. The Lady Indians and Lady Tartans each have one win against top 25 teams. The Lady Rams will head to sectionals with a better overall Section 2 record (15-1), than both of their Foothills Council rivals and Class A contenders Troy and Averill Park..
“The big picture is ahead of us,” Coach Duemler said. “This is one step toward that. We can reference this game come sectionals.”
“This experience will definitely help us,” Gannon said. “We still have sectionals and this game will help prepare us for that.”
Good teams lose games. But, as history has shown it also fills them with a more determined resolve to not let it happen again. Perhaps the teams that await next weeks’ sectional pairings could be asking, “Do we really want to play Amsterdam now?”
(Photos by Scott Mulford)