Second quarter strategy change key to AHS win over Bishop Gibbons

Looking for their third win in four games, the Amsterdam Running Rams boys basketball team relied on a change in defense and a little more against the Knights of Notre Dame Bishop Gibbons Tuesday night at Amsterdam High School.

“The one three one wasn’t working so I said let’s go man to man,” Amsterdam coach Tony Orapello said. “It slowed them down. We knew we could do it.”

Leading 20-16 heading into he second quarter the Rams defense began forcing turnovers led by Bryan Stanavich’s six steals and went on a 10-0 run and never trailed in the 81-61 win. Stanavich and Kory Bergh would score six points each in the second quarter often passing to each other after forcing Knights turnovers.

“I thought when they went man to man they got some easy tip out steals for lay ups,” ND BG coach James Mahoney said. “Getting out in the fast lane hurt us.”

The Rams had been hurt by the hot shooting hand of ND BG’s Brandan Maloney who had 14 points in the opening period.

“He was great in his first game back from injury,” said Mahoney. “He stepped up and hit some threes. We go as he goes. He played very well.”

Maloney was held scoreless after the first until late in the third quarter thanks largely to Stanavich and a hustling AHS defense.

“Stanavich made some great passes,” said Orapello. “He’s an unselfish player. The three guards play well together the way they pass the ball to each other.”

The Rams made good on their shots even from half court. After ND BG’s Jordan Igoe hit a three with seconds left in the half, Bergh unleashed a shot from behind the mid court stripe that had the crowd cheering when it went in for a 41 -25 halftime lead.

“I threw it from over half court,” Bergh said. “It just happened- ended up going in.”

Bergh would lead the Rams with 23 points. Stanavich would finish with 16. The teams traded points in the third quarter but the Knights would get no closer than 14 points. Maloney would net 23 points for ND Bishop Gibbons. Everyone that took the court for AHS would score in the win. That little ‘more’ that AHS showed, coach Orapello summed up in one word; “Confidence.”

“Definitely a sense of confidence,” Orapello said. “We were not worried about losing and wanted to win. I don’t see panic. They knew they could break this game open. Confidence and maturity.”

The Rams will get to show more of that confidence and maturity going into next Tuesday’s regular season finale at home against Bishop Maginn.

“Now, we’ve got to get the next one,” said Orapello. “Every game is important going into the sectional seedings.”

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.