Rodriguez nets 20 in AHS boys basketball win

Hector Rodriguez had the second “double-double” in one week for an Amsterdam basketball player. The Running Rams senior forward poured in 20 points and collected 12 rebounds helping the Amsterdam boys varsity defeat Gloversville 71-52 in a match up of Foothills Council rivals on Friday night at Amsterdam High School.

“He was just slashing, cutting to the basket, and all over the boards,” Gloversville head coach Aric Kucel said of Rodriguez’s game. “He was great for them and dominant inside.”

Rodriguez scored 12 of his game high in the third quarter. He and teammate Jemal Robinson (6 pts., 7 rebounds) were responsible for 18 of the Rams 24 points the period boosting what was a nine point lead at half time into a 54-38 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Rodriguez and Robinson were part of a strong effort by the Rams front court players to defeat a Dragons attempt to control the pace of the game. Amsterdam out-rebounded Gloversville 38- 24 for the game.

“We tried to push the tempo up,” Amsterdam head coach Tony Orapello said. “They tried to play zone and it didn’t work. We found someone inside anyway.”

The third quarter started well for AHS. Marcus Pritchard worked inside and took a pass from Kory Bergh to score the first points of the quarter. Following a three by Gloversville’s Anthony Bravo, Rodriguez picked up the pace cutting to the basket on the offensive side and then breaking down court after a steal by teammate Andrew Druziak, who assisted on Rodriguez’s next score. Gloversville’s Ricky Mitchell drained a pair of free throws and went the distance on a steal and a layup slicing the lead to 36-28 in front of Bryan Stanavich’s put back off a rebound. But, Rodriguez, Robinson and Anferny Aponte sent the Rams on a 12-4 sprint in the middle of the quarter as AHS broke the game open with a 50-33 lead.

“Hector played really well, Jemal played well, all of our inside guys played well,” Coach Orapello said. “We got everybody in and stayed in control. Hopefully we’ll build off it.”

Rodriguez continued to play strong in the fourth quarter and the Rams led 60-40 after his final basket of the night. His performance was a good example to follow as juniors Keenan Holloway (6 pts.) and Gehrig Garner (5 pts.) got into the scoring column. Holloway’s points were coming from working inside and connecting from the foul line. Gehrig scored the last five points for the Rams, his last on a three point jumper. The two teamed up for six rebounds in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve been practicing getting inside shots,” Rodriguez said. “I had opportunities and made shots. The guy defending me was smaller and I took advantage. Our team is a deep team. Our 13th guy can come in and score. It’s a team effort.”

Brian Stanavich (10 pts.), Druziak (8 pts.) and Bergh (11 pts.) scored most of their points in the first half helping the Rams take the lead after the Dragons jumped out to 6-0 advantage in the early moments of the game on the strength of three point baskets by Mitchell and Alex Reppenhagan (5 pts.). Baskets by Rodriguex, Druziak and Bergh tied the score before Gloversville’s Jacquez Nails connected on a layup. After Brian Stanavich’s first points tied the game at 8-8, Nails’ next bucket gave Gloversville its last lead. A three point basket by Bergh put Amsterdam ahead for good. The Rams closed the opening period on a 7-0 run getting drives to the hoop by Bergh and Brian Stanavich in the closing minute for a 15-10 margin after one. Gloversville cut the lead to two on three occasions in the second quarter with Bravo (12 pts.) on a pair of free throws, and Taylor McCredie (2 pts.) scoring to open the second quarter cutting the lead to 15-13. Rodriguez’s only foul shots pushed the lead back to four prior to Bravo’s next basket that made it 17-15. Druziak and Mitchell traded three pointers, but Druziak’s second triple gave AHS a 23-18 cushion. Amsterdam closed the frame outscoring the Dragons 7-3 including the last five points on a free trow by James Valentin and baskets from Bergh and Druziak for a 30-21 lead at halftime.

“We couldn’t handle them inside,” Gloversville coach Kucel said. “They were beating us under the boards. Everything was a layup or rebound put back.”

Mitchell and Nails each score 14 points to lead thee Dragons. Brian Bentley chipped in with two points and Cameron Stewart had three for Gloversville..

Brian Stanavich added five rebounds, Druziak collected three and Bergh had two to help the Rams cause. Amsterdam will be on the road for its next three contests. The Running Rams play at Johnstown on Tuesday, January 20, followed by a pair of games against perennial Foothills Council powers Queensbury and Scotia-Glenville. The Tartans defeated AHS in their first meeting back on December 12. Amsterdam (8-2 overall, 6-1 Foothills) hasn’t lost a Foothills game since.

“We’ll be ready for them,” said Rodriguez who’s “double-double” followed Lady Rams’ Caitlin Gannon’s feat on Tuesday against Glens Falls.

Amsterdam’s next home game is against Schuylerville on February 3rd. Senior night is scheduled for February 10th when the Rams host Hudson Falls.

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.