Turning defense into offense has become a winning formula for the Amsterdam High School Lady Rams varsity basketball team. Since the beginning of the season, AHS has reeled off three straight wins in its first season in the Foothills Council. That successful formula was on display Friday night at Amsterdam High School as the Lady Rams won their home opener 68-19 over Gloversville.
The Lady Rams and Lady Dragons were locked in a close contest early in the first quarter. Amsterdam point guard Kaitlyn Devine and forwards Nina Fedullo and Giuliana Pritchard traded baskets with Gloversville’s Kerri Hauser and Gabriellle Langley before a pair of baskets by Fedullo gave AHS a 9-4 lead. Gloversville’s Natalie Kucel answered with the next five points for the only tie of the game at 9-9. On the next trip down the court Fedullo took a pass from Devine, stepped back and connected for three of her game high 19 points. The fuse was lit. The defense about to take over.
Gloversville’s last response came with a basket by senior guard Angela DiMarco. After a pair of free throws by Fedullo gave AHS a 14-11 lead, Kaitlyn Devine was everywhere. The juniors’ tenacious defense turned into a pair of steals on the next two Gloversville possessions, and in the blink of an eye Amsterdam led 18-11.
“Kaitlyn Devine is lightning,” Amsterdam varsity head coach Eric Duemler said. She’s very fast, like a one person fast break. She’s unselfish and creates opportunities for her teammates to score.”
Amsterdam certainly benefited from Devine’s energy. The Lady Rams closed the quarter on a 10-0 run with Caitlin Gannon, Fedullo, Pritchard, and Maria Lomanto all scoring. Amsterdam led 28-11 after one period. AHS continued its aggressive defense while mixing a lineup of starters and reserves in the second frame. Rayven Roach, Autumn Duemler, Grace Catena and Jailene Irazarry all found the bottom of the net for the Lady Rams. Roach added another aspect of Amsterdam’s dominating defense giving the Lady Rams a sizable advantage under the boards. She and Fedullo both grabbed a game high seven rebounds. Amsterdam outscored Gloversville 12-2 in the second quarter and held a 40-13 halftime lead.
“This was very similar to the Broadalbin-Perth game,” said coach Duemler. “They (Gloversville) knocked down a couple of shots and we just kept being aggressive then opened it up. Tips and deflections led to steals and easy baskets.”
The Lady Rams continued their solid defense in the second half tipping away Gloversville passes and turning deflections into points. A three point basket by Gannon in the middle of an 18-0 run in the third quarter opened up an insurmountable 53-13 lead. The winning formula was the right one once again.
“Our defense is very good,” said Gannon, a senior captain for the Lady Rams. “We’ve been working each practice to get it to be the best it can be. We’re a deep team.”
The Lady Rams showed that depth at both ends of the court limiting the Lady Dragons to eight points after the first quarter on defense, and putting 12 players in the scoring column on offense including senior Lequela Steen who hit a free throw in the fourth quarter for her first career point.
“We were all cheering for her,” said Gannon. “She’s a very good player.”
Gannon finished with five points and five rebounds. Devine and Pritchard each had eight points and six rebounds for the Lady Rams. Grace Catena came off the bench to connect for seven points. Maria Lomanto drained a pair of threes for AHS. Roach (4 points.), Duemler (4pts.), Irazarry (2pts.), Brady Santiago (2pts.), Braelin Aldi (2pts.), and Steen (1pt.), rounded out the Lady Rams scoring. The top performance on the court belonged to Fedullo with 19 points and seven rebounds.
“We played good defense,” said Fedullo. “We got tips that led to fast breaks, and we are good anticipators getting them out of their rhythm.”
Gloversville was led by Kucel and DiMarco who had five points apiece. Langley had four points and five rebounds. Hauser scored three points, and Whytne Stover added two. Emily Washburn collected four rebounds for the Lady Dragons.
“We are a young team,” said Gloversville head coach Molly Swan. “I know how passionate the girls are about getting better. We take it quarter by quarter and learn each game.”
Amsterdam (3-0, Foothills) will be off until after Christmas. The Lady Rams will play host to Corcoran and Schalmont during their tournament on December 27-28.
“Corcoran is big and physical, and Schalmont is one of the top teams in the Colonial Council,” Coach Duemler said. “We want to continue to play good defense and win both games.”
(Photos by Scott Mulford)