AHS boys basketball runs past Patriots

Kory Bergh led eleven Rams players in scoring with 19 points, and Amsterdam’s defense clamped down on a less opportunistic Patriots offense as the Amsterdam boys varsity basketball team defeated Broadalbin-Perth 76-53 Tuesday night at Amsterdam High School.

Amsterdam, coming off a loss to Scotia-Glenville at home last Friday night faced a Patriots team that had already won three games this season. Broadalbin-Perth came in with the energy of a winning team.

“They had momentum going, having won their first three games by a lot,” Amsterdam varsity head coach Tony Orapello said. “We were deeper than them. We were quicker.”

Amsterdam needed every bit of that depth and quickness early on. The Rams committed 16 fouls in the first half sending starters to the bench. The Patriots were shooting free throws early in the first quarter. Vincenzo Dicaterino drove under the AHS basket for a lay up and added the free throw giving Broadalbin-Perth an 8-7 lead. After a basket by Rams forward Brian Stanavich gave the lead back to AHS, Dicaterino tied it with another free throw at 9-9.Fouls were impacting Amsterdam’s game.

“We have to work on that,” said Amsterdam senior Andrew Druziak on the teams foul situation. “It took out Hector (Rodriguez) and a bunch of guys. Fouling 90 feet from the basket is not good.”

Despite the foul troubles, Amsterdam never trailed after Dicaterino’s tying basket. The Patriots were shooting in the one and one before the end of the first quarter, and were in the bonus with five minutes left in the half, however BPHS made only 10 of 21 free trows before halftime. It proved costly.

“We hurt ourselves,” Broadalbin-Perth head varsity coach Tucker Gifford said. “We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities by shooting 10 for 21 from the foul line in the first half.”

The Rams were a furnace ready to ignite. They got the spark from Bergh who started the game with a three point basket. Berghs jump shot late in the first quarter gave AHS the lead at 11-9. He energized the near capacity crowd with another three making it 14-9, and after Ryan Dingman’s bucket cut it to 14-11, Bergh answered again with a three and a 17-11 AHS lead after one period. Bergh’s 13 points in the quarter led all scorers.

“It helps us get going,” said Bergh. “I tried to open it up for other guys.”

Many of Bergh’s teammates got into the scoring column. Dale Stanavich connected for a three pointer and Anferny Aponte converted a three point play giving AHS it’s largest lead at 23-12. Jemal Robinson

and Keelin Holloway sent Amsterdam on a 7-0 run midway through the second quarter and the Rams opened up a 29-15 lead with five minutes left in the half. The Patriots meanwhile continued to struggle from the free throw line and faced a revved up AHS defense that was taking advantage under the boards and forcing turnovers.

“The first teams we faced just sat back,” Broadalbin-Perth guard Preston Taylor said. “This team (AHS) was more physical. We didn’t push back. The first half was sloppy and could have been better. We will focus on keys in practice.”

Amsterdam poured it on in the second half. Bergh, Druziak, Rodriguez and Marcus Pritchard all scored taking the Rams on a 9-0 run to start the third quarter. Bergh’s next jump shot from the top of the key put the Rams up 48-24. Bergh then stole the ball at mid court on BPHS’ next possession and found Druziak for two more. Pritchard was formidable at he center of the Rams defense. The 6’4” senior forward got in the way of every shot headed in his direction.

“Marcus played better tonight,” said AHS coach Orapello. “It was a good team effort. We didn’t have a spark right away. And we were making mistakes defensively with too many fouls. Kory then hits a couple of shots and the momentum was changing.”

Amsterdam outscored Broadalbin-Perth 22-9 and the momentum had turned for good in the Rams favor. The Rams led 57-31 after three quarters of play. The fourth quarter saw some of the AHS reserves on the court including Ben Rhodes and Gehrig Garner who both scored. Amsterdam’s strong start in the second half proved too much for BPHS to overcome.

“We didn’t respond in the second half,” said BPHS head coach Gifford. “We didn’t take advantage of opportunities and it got away from us.”

Connor Pingitore and Evan Dimaio led the Patriots with 10 points each. Dicaterino and Taylor finished with nine points each. Chris Natoli netted seven points and along with Dicaterino and Jake Coveney grabbed five rebounds.

Bergh’s 19 points were a game high. Aponte finished with nine points. Druziak, Holloway, and Dale Stanavich collected seven points apiece. Robinson added six points, Rodriguez and Rhodes added five each, and Pritchard and Bryan Stanavich both added four points. Garner completed the Rams scoring with three points. Bryan Stanavich hauled in four rebounds for the Rams. Rhodes, Robinson, Pritchard and Bergh gathered in three boards each.

“We came out to play like any other game,” said Bergh. “Like we always do.”

Amsterdam (1-1 overall) will be on the road until after the first of the year. The Rams travel to Gloversville on Friday, and will play in the CBA Tournament on December 27-28 and then in the Troy Tournament on January 3, 2015. AHS returns home to battle Johnstown on Tuesday, January 6, 2015. Amsterdam will face Broadalbin-Perth once more on Friday, February 6, 2015 at the Patriots gym.

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.