AHS girls basketball soars past South High for third straight win

The Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity basketball team kicked their offense into high gear and never looked back Thursday night against South Glens Falls. The team got off to a good start in the first quarter to hand the previously unbeaten Lady Bulldogs their first loss of the season 70-51 at Amsterdam High School.

“From the beginning that was our best game of the year so far,” Amsterdam sophomore forward Giuliana Pritchard said. “We had a lot of open looks early and made our shots. We started out strong and that’s what we have to do.”

Amsterdam’s offense and defense worked in harmony in the opening quarter and the Lady Rams scored the first 16 points of the game, the first eight of those coming from junior forward Nina Fedullo who finished with a game high of 24 points. The Lady Rams used their “tips and deflections” style of defense to disrupt South Glens Falls moving the ball down court. As steals by guards Brady Santiago and Lucia Liverio turned into driving lay ups by Fedullo and Pritchard, Amsterdam was on its way to victory.

“Our offense is predicated on lay ups,” Amsterdam head coach Eric Duemler said. “Every day at practice we talk about getting tips and deflections. Our press is getting better. Most of these girls played on the Amsterdam AAU team this past summer and we pressed every possession. All five girls on the court are moving and active with their arms.”

Amsterdam led 20-6 at the end of the first quarter and kept its foot on the accelerator to start the second period. Santiago converted a lay up and added the free throw for a three point play starting a 9-0 run in the opening minutes of the second frame. Jailene Irizarry fought off three defenders for a rebound and put it back for her two points, and Maria Lomanto outraced everyone to catch a long pass from Fedullo, who had skied for a block and a steal at the other end, to score another two capping off the run. The Lady Rams built their biggest lead of the game at 29-6 and were up 32-14 at the end of the first half. But it’s hard to keep a good team down and the Lady Bulldogs still had some fight left in them.

South Glens Falls made a run of its own to start the second half scoring the first seven points on baskets by Claire Carpenter and Rylee Coon, and a three point shot from Katelynn Bourdeau. AHS’ Santiago ended the run with a lay up, but Mariah Buser connected from long range to cut the lead to ten at 34-24. But, the Lady Bulldogs would get no closer as Autumn Duemler and Fedullo weaved their way to the rim drawing fouls along the way. Pritchard took a pass in the lane from Liverio, spun around a pair of defenders and scored, putting AHS up 38-24. Moments later Pritchard blocked a shot by Alexa Brown and tossed the ball to Fedullo who put in Amsterdam’s first three point basket of the game keeping Amsterdam in charge 41-24. Amsterdam’s starting forwards Fedullo and Pritchard teamed up for 35 points and 16 rebounds and assisted each other in scoring.

“We work well together,” Pritchard said of her and Fedullo. “Everyone one on this team communicates well and we have that connection that just comes naturally to us.”

A basket by Pritchard on an assist by Fedullo put the Lady Rams up by twenty 46-26, and the Lady Rams kept that margin after a foul shot by Fedullo at 49-29. The talented Amsterdam duo were key to keeping the Lady Rams in front despite seven points apiece in the third quarter from South High’s Rylee Coon and Alexa Brown. Amsterdam outscored South Glens Falls 24-22 in the opening period of the second half. Fedullo had five points and Pritchard had nine of her 11 points in the frame.

“Giuliana Pritchard played tough tonight,” Coach Duemler said. “She was getting to the basket and that was her best game of the year so far. Nina Fedullo was slashing to the basket and making lay ups.”

An Amsterdam Lady Rams game would not be complete without a three point basket from Maria Lomanto. And with fans calling for one in the second half, the junior guard did not disappoint dialing in from long distance to put AHS up 54-33. Lomanto finished with nine points. Santiago gave Amsterdam its biggest lead with a lay up at 56-34 and ended the night with 11 points, three rebounds, and four steals. Amsterdam emptied its bench in the fourth quarter and everyone on the team contributed at least one rebound.

Junior guard Grace Catena scored four points in the fourth quarter and collected three of her five rebounds. Catena also assisted on baskets by Lomanto and Duemler that kept Amsterdam up by twenty 68-48 near the end of the game. Catena’s older sister Gabriella picked up a rebound in the fourth quarter and senior Rayven Roach brought down two more. Lucia Liverio scored two points and was responsible for seven assists on the night for AHS. Autumn Duemler scored seven points and took down four rebounds.

South Glens Falls was led by Alexa Brown’s 12 points and five rebounds, most of which came in the second half. Emily Scarincio scored nine points for the Lady Bulldogs. Rylee Coon and Claire Carpenter added seven points apiece, and Mariah Buser tallied five points and three rebounds. Amber Bourdeau led the Lady Bulldogs with six rebounds. South Glens Falls entered the game unbeaten at 4-0 with a win over Foothills Council north division rival Queensbury.

“I was worried about South High,” Duemler said. “Coming in they were 4-0 and had beaten Queensbury. We took a little life out of them early on when we were making lay ups. We got out on them on defense and we played a better game overall tonight.”

Amsterdam (3-0 Foothills Council, overall) will face another tough, physical team this Saturday when they host Saratoga Springs out of the Suburban Council in a 4pm contest at AHS. The junior varsity will also play in Amsterdam’s first non-league contest of the season. Tip time for the jay-vee Lady Rams is 2:30pm.

Authors note: Before Thursday’s game the Amsterdam Lady Rams held a moment of silence for Carol Ann Trivett Hoefs who passed away Monday at 76 years old. She was the grandmother of Amsterdam varsity basketball players Brady Santiago and Braelin Aldi. Mrs. Hoefs was a supporter of many Amsterdam sports and helped develop the Amsterdam Little Giants and Amsterdam High School cheerleading programs. She will truly be missed.

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.