Lady Rams celebrate Senior Night with another win

The Broadalbin-Perth Lady Patriots had pulled to six points of the Lady Rams with two minutes to play on Friday night, but the Lady Rams defense arrived just in time to preserve the victory. Amsterdam defeated Broadalbin-Perth 47-38 keeping their undefeated first season in the Foothills Council intact and extending their win streak to 15 games. Seniors Lequela Steen, Tessa Filiberto, and Caitlin Gannon were honored at AHS’s “Senior Night” before a near-capacity crowd.

Lady Patriots senior guard Nicole Traver (5 pts), who along with Kylie Gifford were the honored BPHS seniors present for the game, connected on a three-point jump shot capping a late 7-0 run that kept The Lady Patriots close at 44-38. But, it was Amsterdam’s defense that has frustrated opponents all season long that proved to be the deciding factor. After a tie up under the rim gave possession to BPHS, Lady Rams senior captain Caitlin Gannon stole the ball at mid- court and drove to the basket pushing the lead to 46-38. Moments later, Gannon and teammate Kaitlyn Devine (6 pts) forced another turnover on a BPHS back court mix up. Two more steals by Gannon, one by Nina Fedullo, and another by Devine kept the score from advancing until a free throw by Devine created the final margin. Amsterdam’s defense held the Lady Patriots scoreless during the crucial last two minutes.
“We trapped in our 1-3-1 defense,” Amsterdam head coach Eric Duemler said. “We put the pressure back on and got stops when we needed them.”

The Lady Rams defense needed to be on its game to make up for an offense that typically has scored more than 60 points per game most of the season, but was sluggish against the relentless defense of the Lady Patriots. Amsterdam’s largest lead of the night came after a 7-0 run late in the third quarter that put them up 38-25. Gannon started the charge with a deep three pointer, and Fedullo finished it with a pair of free throws and a score close to the rim. The run came in between basket by BPHS junior Erica Kordjyak, who led the Lady Patriots with 12 points.

“We’ve been scoring in the sixties, but tonight we scored in the forties and that’s not where we want to be,” Coach Duemler said. “A lot of credit goes to Coach Magliocca and his kids. We had to play our hardest to get the win. We need to play better.”

The Lady Rams led 12-8 after the first quarter sparked by a late 7-2 run. A pair of free throws by Megan Ryder (7 pts) put BPHS up 6-5 before Gannon connected for the first of her three triples. After a basket by Kordjyak tied the score, Giuliana Pritchard (8 pts) took a pass from Fedullo and banked it off the backboard and in for two and then netted a pair of free throws to end the period.

Broadalbin-Perth had cut the lead 12-11 early in the second quarter getting free throws from Kordjyak and Zoe Simonson (4 pts), but Fedullo answered on a put back and then assisted on a drive by Autumn Duemler (5 pts) that led to a pair of foul shots and a 16-11 lead. Fedullo, a sophomore forward and Amsterdam’s leading scorer finished with a team high 17 points and 11 rebounds. Her efforts were the start of an 11-0 run four minutes before the half. The Lady Rams continued to capitalize on turnovers with Devine stepping back and hitting from long-range, Fedullo grabbing a rebound and putting it through, and Gannon assisting on Devine’s next score. The Lady Rams were up 23-11 but BPHS showed its resiliency with Ryder and Simonson finding the basket and Isabella Magliocca (4 pts) draining a three to again cut into the lead. Gannon’s second triple stopped the run, and a block of a Tatiana Ivery (2 pts) attempt by Fedullo kept the lead 26-20 with a half to play.

Amsterdam led 38-27 after a third quarter that featured Fedullo scoring seven of her total points. Fedullo, Duemler and Pritchard each connected for at least one free throw, and Duemler took an assist from Grace Catena in the fourth quarter inching Amsterdam in front 44-31 before Danielle Biggers (4 pts), Traver and Ryder started Broadalbin-Perth’s late run.

“We gave it a shot,” Broadalbin-Perth head coach Michael Magliocca said. “We’ve been up and down all year, and dealt with our share of injuries and kids not feeling well. We played like this against South Glens Falls, and we’re excited, and starting to gel as a team. I’m proud of the effort they gave tonight.”

Amsterdam (15-2) took the ball away six times in the final minutes of the game to extend a win streak that has reached 15 since the Lady Rams opened the season with a pair of loses across the border at a tournament in Canada. Amsterdam’s defense was key in the win.

“Our defense was there,” said AHS senior captain Gannon, who finished with 11 points, three rebounds, three assists and five steals. “We passed the ball around, got open looks and that helped get us the win.”

Gannon was one of three honored AHS seniors who played in their final regular season game at AHS on Friday night. Gannon along with Lequela Steen and captain Tessa Filiberto were recognized for their efforts in a pre-game ceremony.

“Being with my teammates and having the support of friends and family,” said Steen when asked about what she will remember most about her time on the basketball team

In the program, Steen listed “Senior Night” as her favorite basketball memory. The senior guard has endured hardships during her career including dealing with concussions. That couldn’t keep her off the court Friday night. She was a true example of the triumph of the human spirit and the will to overcome those hardships for the love of the game.

“Lequela is a very hard worker and loves the game of basketball,” Coach Duemler said. “The girls love her. She never misses practice. A coaches’ dream.”

Steen was responsible for three assists and helped create several turnovers. She started the game along with Gannon and Filiberto, who added a pair of rebounds and assists to the Lady Rams cause.

“Tessa is a tough, physical basketball player,” said Coach Duemler. “She has a great personality and is someone who puts a smile on people’s’ faces. She keeps her teammates smiling.”

Filiberto listed “Beating Scotia twice!” as her favorite basketball memory. The two-year varsity player was also part of the Amsterdam Lady Rams tennis team that won the schools’ first Foothills Council title. Filiberto took a moment to compare the two Lady Rams squads.

“Very family and team oriented,” said Filiberto, who was undefeated on the tennis court this year, and a first team tennis all-star. When asked about what she’ll remember most about basketball she said, “Being with my team. My team is always there for me no matter what. They’re my second family.”

Like Filiberto, Gannon was also a standout on the Lady Rams tennis team. The third year varsity basketball starter listed a holiday moment with her team as her favorite memory and took a moment to reflect on her basketball experience.

“We are always a team,” said Gannon. “We are like a second family. I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time on varsity. Being part of the tennis team that was successful and the basketball team, I’m very proud of that. We stick together as a team.”

“Caitlin’s someone who came through the program looking up to the likes of Brittany Stahura, Megan Gaugler, and the girls of the 2008 team,” coach Duemler said. “She’s a good three point shooter and someone who brings a lot to the team. I’m hard on her at times, and expect a lot from her. We appreciate what she brings to the team and what she does for the team.”

The concept of family is something that can be seen at every level of the Lady Rams program. During the junior varsity contest, members of the varsity team joined in the cheers for team manager Maria Bottisti, who played in her first basketball game. Bottisti contributed two steals, and one assist in the junior Lady Rams win.

Amsterdam has one game left on its Foothills Council regular season schedule on Tuesday at Hudson Falls. The Foothills Council South Division Champion Lady Rams will then play the winner of the North Division on Friday, February 13 at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Game time is set for 5:30pm. Amsterdam will be a top four seed in the Class A sectionals and likely host a quarter- final game at AHS when pairings are announced.

A breakdown of the 2014-2015 Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity basketball team record as of 2/7/15:

15 – 2 in North America.. (Includes two games in Canada).

15 – 0 in New York State.

14 – 0 in Section 2 (Amsterdam defeated Syracuse Corcoran of Section 3 at the Amsterdam Holiday College Showcase in December.)

12 – 0 in the Foothills Council (first season).

8 – 0 against Foothills Council South Division (undefeated, first place finish).

Highest ranking in NYSSWA Girls Class A High School Basketball poll : 16

(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.