Amsterdam tops Bishop Maginn on senior night

Amsterdam senior basketball players and cheerleaders. Photo by Scott Mulford

Keny Ribot-Diaz hit the first three pointer. Juell Springs hit the last, and Kory Bergh hit seven in between as the Amsterdam Running Rams were victorious Tuesday on senior night 74-61 over the Bishop Maginn Griffins at Amsterdam High School.

“I was surprised by both of them,” Amsterdam coach Tony Orapello said of seniors Ribot-Diaz and Springs shots. “Keny’s was cool to start.”

AHS connected on three-point shots at several key points in the game mostly coming from Bergh’s seven triples leading to his game high 23 points. In fact, the last six shots that Bergh connected on were three pointers. All coming in the second half.

“He’s a great shooter and everyone knows it,” said Bishop Maginn coach Rich Gilooly. “A good player who ends up with the ball in his hands and knocks down shots.”

The two teams were locked in a tight battle with the Rams leading 28-27 at the half. Bergh opened the scoring with the first of his threes for a 31-27 lead, and would connect for another after Maginns’s Jeremy Nixon had cut it to one on a free throw. Following a pair of free throws by Anferny Aponte and a steal and a lay up by Marcus Pitchard, Bergh connected again for a 49-40 AHS lead. Creating the scoring chances was an aggressive Rams defense that converted rebounds and turnovers into points.

“They beat us on the defensive glass,” said coach Gilooly. “They turned rebounds into scoring opportunities. We didn’t secure the ball and they were turning second chances into threes. They are a fast paced team and get the ball down the floor quickly.”

Bergh connected on a pair of threes and Aponte drilled one as the Rams extended their lead to 60-44 in the fourth quarter. The Rams withstood a late Griffins rally led by Marcus Friend and Jeremy Nixon who led Bishop Maginn with 16 points. Nixon’s six first quarter points helped Maginn to an 18-12 lead after the first frame. The Amsterdam seniors showed their toughness throughout the first and that was followed by more of the same from the AHS starters. But, there was something else that keeps growing every time the Running Rams take the floor.

“Confidence,” said coach Orapello.” We’ve got confidence. We played well together and were very unselfish. People had to step up and play tonight and played well.”

Amsterdam’s five seniors; Springs (6pts.), Ribot-Diaz (5 pts.), Eric Robertshaw (2pts.), Andrew Rouse (2pts.) and Alonzo Martin (2 pts.) all scored. Pritchard finished with nine points and James Valentin collected a game high ten rebounds. Marcus Friend had 12 points for the Griffins. Both teams await their seeding for sectionals.

“We just gotta win,” said coach Orapello. “I don’t think anyone is going to take us lightly.”

Scott Mulford

Scott Mulford has been covering local sports for over 20 years. He previously wrote for the Amsterdam Star and The Free Press of the Mohawk Valley.