Monday night’s Amsterdam girls varsity basketball game represented a change of pace after a challenging four game stretch that culminated in another Foothills Council division title. But it was business as usual for the Lady Rams and their fans as they honored a senior class that has accomplished perhaps more than any other in recent memory. Achievements continued to be reached as Nina Fedullo, Brady Santiago, Maria Lomanto, Grace Catena, and Janina Sjoberg played their final regular season home game in a 63-21 victory over Broadalbin- Perth at Amsterdam High School.
The win gave Amsterdam (15-3 overall, 11-1 Foothills Council) its 24th consecutive Foothills Council South division regular season win. The Lady Rams have been playing teams from Broadalbin-Perth, Gloversville, Johnstown, and Scotia-Glenville since joining the Foothills Council in 2014. and since then the Lady Rams only loss to one of those schools was to Scotia-Glenville, but that was in the 2014-2015 Section 2 Class A quarterfinals.
All five Lady Rams seniors were introduced in the starting lineup and helped show why the Amsterdam girls basketball program continues to reach its goals.
“The chemistry on this team is amazing,” Brady Santiago said. “You saw it tonight. We know how each other plays.”
Santiago’s assist on a score by Nina Fedullo completed an opening 8-0 run by the Lady Rams, who broke out to a 16-3 lead after the first eight minutes spurred on by three three-point shots by Lomanto and three of a game high 16 points by Nina Fedullo. The Lady Rams also showed an element to their game that continues to grow: trusting each other. Amsterdam had 17 assists for the game, four coming in the first quarter alone.
“We want to get past 19 assists, that’s our high for the season,” Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler said. “The girls are learning to trust each other more and more. Whether teams play us man or zone they have to play hard to beat us. The girls trust each other and we’ll be a tough one come tournament time.”
The Lady Rams showed just how tough they can be as they did something they hadn’t done all season, hold a team scoreless for an eight minute quarter. Nina Fedullo, her younger sister Elena, Grace Catena, and Santiago scored in order as AHS put up 11 points to none by the Lady Patriots, and took a 27-3 lead into the break. The Lady Patriots only score in the half came on a three point shot by Nyah Thompson that stopped Amsterdam’s eight point run in the first.
“We were a little timid,” Broadalbin-Perth coach Michael Magliocca said. “Amsterdam is a bigger team and we just weren’t moving. Our girls were exhausted. We’ve played five games in nine days.”
Amsterdam continued to build its lead in the second half with the seniors once again taking center stage. Santiago scored the first five points of the third period before BPHS strung a couple of baskets together with points on a three from Isabella Magliocca and two by Lola DiCaterino. But the five point run was all the Lady Patriots could muster against a solid Amsterdam zone defense that forced BPHS to rely on a perimeter game, and created several shot clock violations resulting in BPHS turnovers. Amsterdam then went on another run scoring the last 13 points of the period with four of the five seniors scoring and all five contributing to a 45-8 lead after three periods of play.
“That’s our seniors,” Coach Duemler said. “Always communicating. It was a very unselfish night overall.”
Catena scored on an assist by Santiago, and then on the Lady Rams next trip down the floor found Santiago open on the wing for two of her nine points. A steal at mid-court by Nina Fedullo turned into a layup, and moments later a pass by Lomanto to Sjoberg cutting to the basket resulted in a 40-8 advantage. The younger players of the Lady Rams picked up where their senior teammates left off as Giuliana Pritchard scored on a put back close to the rim, and Elena Fedullo took a pass from Taylor Flint to give Amsterdam its impressive lead headed to the fourth quarter.
“The underclassmen look up to the five seniors,” Coach Duemler said. “The seniors have left their mark on this program for what they do on the court, and academically. They will be missed.”
There were still a couple of milestones for the Lady Rams seniors as the game entered the final eight minutes. Leading 47-9, Nina Fedullo took the ball in for two points on what appeared as just another outstanding play in the career of the Amsterdam girls basketball program’s all-time leading scorer. What few realized is that the two point play gave Fedullo 1,400 points for her career. Moments later, Grace Catena was fouled on a drive to the basket and calmly netted a pair of free throws giving her 100 points for the season.
“It’s an accomplishment,” said Catena. “I have to thank my teammates. They passed me the ball.”
Having Catena at the free throw line has been a good thing for the Lady Rams, as she has one of the best percentages of making foul shots on the team, if not the league. Catena’s reaching the 100 point mark also gave the Lady Rams back to back seasons of having five players score 100 points or better.
With the game well in hand, each of the five seniors was given a chance to take a bow and hear the applause from a near capacity crowd at the AHS gymnasium. Their places on the court filled by Giuliana Pritchard, Lucia Liverio, Gianna Derosa, Elena Fedullo, and Taylor Flint.
“You kind of take it for granted,” Santiago said after the game. “We’ve played basketball together for so long and now it’s senior night. It goes by so fast.”
Santiago finished with nine points, two rebounds, and three assists. Nina Fedullo led the Lady Rams with 16 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Maria Lomanto scored all of her 11 points in the first quarter including three triples, and for the game a pair of assists. Janina Sjoberg had two points and a pair of rebounds, and Grace Catena finished the night with 11 points, two rebounds, and three assists.
“It’s surreal,” Catena said. “I’ve been playing basketball with many of the girls on this team since the second grade. I’ll miss it, but we still have a lot of business to take care of.”
This particular senior night was not about reminiscing for these Lady Rams. The team has set a goal of winning the school’s first girls sports program sectional title since they first took the court together. Amsterdam will conclude the Foothills Council regular season with a 7pm contest at Schuylerville on Thursday and then prepare for another showdown with Glens Falls on Monday at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
“We want to play well against Schuylerville,” Coach Duemler said. “Then carry that over into the championship.”
The meeting between the Lady Rams and Glens Falls in the Foothills Council title game will be the third in as many years. Each team has won one, and the last time the two teams met during the season back on January 19, Glens Falls came away with a 63-56 win at AHS. However, Amsterdam was not at full strength.
“That will be a battle,” Catena said. “We will have Giuliana (Pritchard) this time.”
Pritchard missed the Glens Falls game, but returned to the AHS lineup during their four game run to the division title and averaged scoring better than 17 points per game. Pritchard finished with eight points, five rebounds, and two assists while playing parts of each quarter. Elena Fedullo scored four points and had one rebound, Lucia Liverio scored two points with three assists, and Taylor Flint and Gianna Derosa each had one rebound and one assist for Amsterdam.
The Amsterdam junior varsity team won 68-26. Kayli Hoefs led the junior Lady Rams squad with 12 points. Emily Schaufelberg scored ten points, and Jareymarie Aponte, and Yariana Toro each scored nine points in a winning effort that saw every player that took that floor for Amsterdam score at least one point. Caitlin Palmateer led BPHS with ten points.
Nyah Thompson led the Lady Patriots with eight points followed by Isabella Magliocca with six points. Magliocca along Ali Visco and Hannah Magliocca were the BPHS seniors who were also recognized during the pre- game ceremony. Lola Dicaterino had four points and as many rebounds, Adrienne Morreale scored three points and had three rebounds, Visco had three rebounds, Kacie Corcuera came away with two rebounds, and Ganjha Tirado added one rebound for Broadalbin- Perth.
The Lady Patriots will host Johnstown for their senior night on Thursday.
Tip time for the Lady Rams varsity contest at Schuylerville is scheduled for 7pm. The Foothills Council title game against Glens Falls at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Monday is scheduled to begin at 5:30pm.
“We’ll be ready for them,” Santiago said. “We always bring our best.”