AHS boys basketball “run and jump” past Johnstown

The Amsterdam Rams boys varsity basketball team has a name for their style of play. They call it “run and jump.” Tuesday night was a good example their game style with Andrew Druziak scoring a career best 18 points, leading Amsterdam to a 79-47 Foothills Council win over Johnstown at Amsterdam High School.

“Run and jump, that’s how I coach,” Amsterdam head coach Tony Orapello said. “We have the right kids to do it with. We knew they (Johnstown) don’t like to run at that speed. It’s up tempo, very aggressive style that works very well.”

Amsterdam was in control early and started fast with Kory Bergh connecting from behind the three point arc for the games’ first points. AHS forwards Hector Rodriguez and Brian Stanavich made an impact in the front court collecting rebounds and pushing the ball ahead boosting the Rams lead to 9-0 before Johnstown got on the board with Austin Roth’s layup. The Rams led 16-5 after the first quarter and were just beginning of what would be a balanced scoring effort.

“Balance is what we’re trying to work on,” coach Orapello said. “We’ll take this game and keep moving.”

The Rams consistent inside game kept the Sir Bills off balance and opened things up for Amsterdam’s guards. Most notable was Druziak, who hadn’t scored at all in the first period. With Amsterdam leading 19-5 in the second quarter and following a Johnstown time out, the Rams guard kicked his game into high gear scoring 16 of his 18 points in a five minute stretch late in the first half. Druziak found the bottom of the net from long range on three straight Rams possessions and led to an incredible 36-9 lead.

“He’s playing the way I thought he would,” Coach Orapello said of the senior guard who missed most of the 2013-2014 season due to injury. “He’s picking it up.”

Druziak was on his game on defense as well picking up a steal that transitioned in to a picture perfect hook shot by Jemal Robinson for the Rams largest lead of the night 38-9. Amsterdam’s style of play was in command.

“We like to use run and jump,” Druziak said. We get layups, steals, and turnovers. In the beginning it was rough, but something just hit me and shots started to fall.”

Amsterdam led 43- 18 at the half and shots continued to fall for every Rams player that stepped on the floor. A pair of free throws after a technical foul on the Johnstwon bench in the opening minutes of the third quarter were Druziak’s last points of the game, but the well balanced effort for Amsterdam continued. Marcus Pritchard scored six of the Rams next seven points for a front court game that came to life. Amsterdam forwards contributed 24 points for the win.

“The inside game has improved a lot over the last four games,” Coach Orapello said. “Getting 20 plus points from our inside guys is good. Our post guys did a good job tonight. We’re more balanced now.”

Leading 63-30 after three, Amsterdam showed it’s depth in the fourth quarter getting scoring from Ben Rhodes (11 points), Gehrig Garner (4 pts.), Matt Fedullo (2 pts.), and Dale Stanavich (5 pts.). Defensively the Rams kept the pressure on from the opening tip collecting nearly every loose ball and turning it into points. More than half of Amsterdam’s points early in the game were created from turnovers.

“Everyone did a great job on defense,” Druziak said. “We held them to under 20 points in the first half.”

Druziak added six rebounds to his team high 18 points. Brian Stanavich finished with seven points and six rebounds, Rodriguez had two points and four rebounds, Pritchard contributed six points and two rebounds, and Robinson ended the night with five points and a pair of boards. Keenan Holloway ( 2- pts., 4 rebounds.), and Anferny Aponte (4 pts.) were also part of a good scoring night off the bench for AHS.

“We’re a deep team,” said Coach Orapello. “We can go all the way down the bench.”

Amsterdam’s leading scorer on the season, Kory Bergh bucketed 13 points including three triples, and had a pair of rebounds. Bergh knew coming out strong against Johnstown was important after the Rams had to come from behind to beat Watervliet this past Sunday in the Troy Tournament.

“Coach (Orapello) wasn’t happy with how we played on Sunday, so we had to come out and get the win,” Bergh said. “We just came out and made sure everyone got buckets.”

Johnstown was led by Jamal Vazquez’s game high 26 points. Trevor Sweet collected a game high eight rebounds and added five points. Austin Riska dropped in 11 points and grabbed six rebounds. Jack Fitzgerald (3 pts.) and Devin Boyle (2 pts.) rounded out the scoring for the Sir Bills.

Amsterdam improved its record to 3-1 in the Foothills Council and will look to continue their success on Friday when they travel to South Glens Falls to take on the Bulldogs. Tip time for the varsity contest is set for 7pm.

(Photos by Scott Mulford)

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.