Lady Rams basketball team remains unbeaten in Foothills

Lately, watching a Amsterdam Lady Rams basketball game has been like listening to a concert band perform its featured number. The music starts slowly with Amsterdam trailing in the first half, then builds to a crescendo as they take the lead, and then finishes strong with a resounding, well orchestrated victory. Their performance was true to form Friday night at Amsterdam High School as the Lady Rams took control in the second half to defeat the South Glens Falls Lady Bulldogs 67-51 and remain unbeaten in the Foothills Council.

That crescendo came in he opening moments of the second half. Tied at 28-28, the teams exchanged turnovers in a flurry of action before AHS point guard Kaitlyn Devine found Caitlin Gannon in a familiar spot behind the three point arc and in front of the AHS bench. The senior captain’s shot struck a high note with the crowd and sent Amsterdam on an 8-1 run giving them the lead for good.

“Once we had the lead we knew we had the game,” said Gannon who finished with four three point baskets and 12 points. “We needed to play defense and then it started to click.”

Amsterdam’s press defense was in constant motion. After Gannon gave AHS its first lead of the game, Brady Santiago picked up where she left off against Schalmont connecting for another long range basket boosting the lead to five. On South Highs’ next trip down court, AHS sophomore forward Nina Fedullo took the ball away from Felicia Buser and found Santiago under the basket for a 36-29 AHS lead. Gannon connected for another triple, Devine added four points and the Lady Rams guards pressured another turnover that led to a three point basket from Maria Lamonto putting the lead at 50-37 at the close of the third quarter and sealing the win.

“Once we got a rhythm going and working as a team it worked out,” said Fedullo, who finished with a team high 16 points and eight rebounds. “We had to get it together in our heads mentally and find it. Once we get going… we get going.”

Amsterdam struggled to find the right note in the first quarter allowing the Lady Bulldogs to build a 14-7 lead. The shots were not falling for the Lady Rams, but Lady Bulldogs sophomore forward Claire Carpenter had trouble finding the net, scoring eight of her team high 12 points in the first period. However, Carpenter picked up her second foul late in the quarter and then was whistled for her third just before halftime. Meanwhile the AHS press defense menaced and trapped the Lady Bulldogs guards bringing the ball up the floor and created several turnovers. Fedullo converted two steals into points slicing the lead to five at 16-11, and later 18-13. Devine intercepted another pass keeping AHS within striking distance at 24-18 despite South High’s persistence in getting to the basket. The Lady Bulldogs kept pace with accurate free throw shooting from Alexa Brown, Alanna Wright, and Maddie Capozucca, the later two coming off the bench to help South Glens Falls.

“They were great foul shooters,” Gannon said. “We had to reduce our fouls and play hard.”

The Lady Rams responded with outstanding contributions from their own bench.

After Gannon’s first triple of the night cut the lead to 24-21in the second quarter, the tallest girl on either side, Rayven Roach made an immediate impact skying for an offensive rebound and putting it back through and suddenly the lead was down to one. Rylee Coon increased South High’s lead on their next trip down court with her first points on the night, but it was merely a staccato because on Amsterdam’s ensuing possession Maria Lamonto tuned in from long range for the first of her two triples tying the game at 26-26.Wright’s basket was the last time South High would lead at 28-26. Autumn Duemler’s first points tied the score at the half. The Lady Rams last seven points of the first half came off the bench.

“Our bench was awesome tonight,” said Amsterdam head coach Eric Duemler. “Autumn and Maria gave us good minutes when we had girls in foul trouble. I thought our bench really played well.”

Overall, the Amstedam bench scored 12 points. Lamonto led the way with six points followed by four from Duemler and two from Roach. Duemler and Roach also teamed up to collect six rebounds.

“We have a deep team,” said Gannon. “It’s great that they all can score.”

Brady Santiago was next in the scoring column after Fedullo and Gannon with 11 points. Devine and Giuliana Pritchard both had eight points in the winning effort. Pritchard grabbed five rebounds and Santiago collected four. Rylee Coon’s 11 points were second after Carpenter, who added four rebounds to her total. South High put nine girls in the scoring column with Brown’s nine points followed by Wright (5 pts.), Katelynn Bourdeau (4 pts.), Capozucca (4 pts.), Bryanna Park (3 pts.), Buser (2 pts.), and Amber Bourdeau (1 pt.).

“This is a tight group of 14 girls,” Coach Duemler said of his team. “They rally around each other.”

Amsterdam put up their highest point total since a 68-19 mid December win over Gloversville, and they did it against a South Glens Falls team that had been holding opponents to less than 50 points per game. Amsterdam used every facet of their game to achieve the curtain call with effective press defense, accurate three point shooting, and contributions from the bench.

“We did a nice job of moving the ball, staying patient, and executing,” said Coach Duemler. We’ll take this one game at a time. Now we will prepare for a very good Glens Falls team.”

Glens Falls lost its first Foothills Council game Friday night 54-46 to Scotia-Glenvillle. The loss means that Amsterdam (5-0 Foothills, 7-2 overall) is the leagues’ only unbeaten team. The Lady Rams host Glens Falls on Tuesday at AHS looking for their eighth straight win. Tip time is 7pm. Amsterdam will host Scotia-Glenville on Friday, January 30 in what is shaping up to be a game to decide the division title and possibly the leagues best record. Amsterdam won their first Foothills Council game with the Lady Tartans in early December at Scotia-Glenville.

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.