Coming into their rematch with Gloversville, the Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity basketball team was a little banged up and bruised after having lost their last two games. Thursday night at Amsterdam High School there was an awakening of sorts as the Lady Rams turned in a well balanced effort, putting eight members of their force in the scoring column to defeat the Lady Dragons 65-44. They remain unbeaten and in first place in the Foothills Council South division.
“The best way to get that bad taste out of your mouth is to play right away,” Amsterdam Coach Eric Duemler said of his team that didn’t dwell on Monday’s loss to Glens Falls. “I told them enjoy every win.”
Basketball appeared fun again for the Lady Rams, who started out slow trailing 4-0 after baskets by Gloversville’s Kerri Hauser and Jazmin Gonzalez, but got stronger and tied the game on a pair of free throws by Autumn Duemler and a lay up by Giuliana Pritchard. A three point basket by Harmony Philo put Gloversville in front 7-4, but it was their last lead of the game. Amsterdam went on an 11-0 run to end the quarter getting baskets by Pritchard, Nina Fedullo, and Rayven Roach, and five points from Maria Lomanto including the first of seven three point goals on the night putting Amsterdam in front to stay.
“After two losses getting a win put us back on a high,” said Fedullo who missed most of Monday’s game after she suffered a cut above her left eye that required stitches. “Nothing is going to stop me from playing this game.”
Fedullo was back to form on Thursday and turned in her third double- double of the season scoring 17 points and gathering 11 rebounds. Fedullo scored six points in a the second quarter including two on an impressive running hook shot through the lane, that complimented the outside shooting of guards Lomanto and Brady Santiago who lit up the score board with five three pointers. Amsterdam outscored Glovesville 21-9 in the second quarter and led by 20 points at the half, 36-16.
“Good shooting can make up for mistakes,” Coach Duemler said. “Maria and Brady are good shooters and were knocking down shots. Giuliana and Nina are good athletes and worked well together on the game inside. That combination makes us a tough team to beat.”
But, it was more than just the Amsterdam offense that was effective. The Lady Rams played a ‘box and one’ style defense on Gloversville that kept them from getting too many open looks. At their first meeting back on December 3 at Gloversville, the Lady Dragons threw down six three point baskets, five from Harmony Philo to stay with the Lady Rams before Amsterdam pulled away in the fourth quarter. Philo had only two triples on Thursday, and only nine points for the game.
“No way we were going to leave number 10 (Philo) open again,” Coach Duemler said. “Lucia Liverio did a nice job staying with Philo. We’re getting better at deflections and creating turnovers.”
Liverio was a key part to the defensive effort coming up with a pair of steals in the first half that led to points for Amsterdam. Liverio leaped up and took a pass away from Gonzalez and raced down court to find an open Lomanto who gave Amsterdam an 8-7 lead in the first quarter, and she intercepted another pass in the second quarter that led to a three point basket by Santiago and a 24-12 Amsterdam lead. Liverio’s teammate junior Grace Catena picked up where she left off with a steal at mid court followed by a pass to Fedullo for two more and a 33-16 Amsterdam advantage. Liverio and Grace Catena teamed up for five steals and 12 assists for Amsterdam. In fact every Lady Rams starter had at least one assist.
“When we’re passing the ball and people are making that second pass we can be a tough team to beat,” Coach Duemler said. “We had a lot of people making that second pass.”
Gloversville went on a 6-2 run to open the third quarter getting points from Gonzalez, Hauser, and a triple from Alex Benfatti to cut the deficit to 38-22, but a steal by Santiago and the ensuing drive to the rim put AHS up 40-22. The turnover was one of the 27 on the night that impeded the Gloversville game plan.
“We had a difficult time taking care of the ball on offense and making good choices when passing,” Gloversville coach Molly Swan said. “We knew it would be a challenge tonight. We need to show that maturity and it’s a matter of executing in games.”
Gloversville closed out the third quarter on an 8-2 run getting points from Gonzalez, Philo, Gabrielle Langley, and Kendra Lavery to tighten the gap to 46-31, but they would get no closer. Amsterdam continued to make shots and went on a 9-2 run to open the fourth quarter starting with a free throw by Pritchard, continued by a steal and a lay up by Fedullo, a shot by Autumn Duemler on an inbounds pass by Liverio, and finally a three by Fedullo. Amsterdam had its biggest lead at 55-33 and was in control the rest of the way.
“We were making shots,” Coach Duemler said. “We were seven of twelve from three point range and ten for sixteen from the free throw line. That’s good for this team. I told them we need to enjoy the success when it comes.”
Both Lomanto and Santiago scored 14 points to compliment Fedullo’s double-double performance. Pritchard and Autumn Duemler both added seven points and four rebounds in the Amsterdam cause. Pritchard also contributed three assists including a well timed pass to Lomanto for two late in the fourth quarter that were Amsterdam’s final points. Liverio added two points and two rebounds to go with her nine assists. Grace Catena had two points, two rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals in the winning cause. Roach added a pair of rebounds to her two points, Jailene Irizarry took down two rebounds, and Gabrielle Catena and Victoria Barone-Lopez each had one assist.
Jazmin Gonzalez led Gloversville with 18 points and eight rebounds. Kerri Hauser collected 10 points and six rebounds, Harmony Philo was next with nine points and one rebound. Kendra Lavery had two points and four rebounds, Langley had two points and two rebounds, Benfatti added a pair of boards to her three points, and Emily Ross contributed a pair of rebounds in the Gloversville effort.
Amsterdam (4-1 Foothills Council, 4-2 overall) heads into the holiday break on a winning note. The victory keeps them atop of the Foothill Council South division having won all three contests with division rivals.
“I feel like this time around we were ready for them,” Pritchard said of Amsterdam’s win. “It’s a good feeling. We needed to see a win after two losses. This will help build our confidence.”
The Lady Rams will return to action Monday, December 28 when they face Class AA Baldwinsville of Section 3 in the opening round of the Amsterdam Holiday Showcase at Amsterdam High School. The following day Amsterdam will take on another Section 3 team in Rome Free Academy. Tip time for Monday’s game is 3pm. Tuesday’s game is schedule to begin at 5pm. Both games are part of a showcase event that will bring some of the best high school girls basketball teams in the state to Amsterdam. College scouts and coaches will be in attendance at the event.
During halftime of Thursday’s game, Amsterdam athletic trainer Carla Pasquarelli was presented with an award recognizing Amsterdam as a Safe Sports School. Amsterdam earned the first team designation from the National Athletic Trainers Association. Presenting the award was Aimee Brunelle, a 1991 graduate of Amsterdam High School. Brunelle and her sister Beth were both athletes at AHS and members of the 1991 AHS softball team that made it to sectionals and came within a game of winning the Big 10 title that year. Brunelle was also active in the community during her school years and through the former Amsterdam K-Mart store helped organize softball teams to participate in benefit tournaments for Area Nine Special Olympics and the Easter Seals Foundation of Albany. Pasquarelli has served as athletic trainer for Amsterdam following her graduation from Russell Sage College in 2007. Pasquarelli played softball at Sage College and was a member of the Amsterdam softball teams that won three straight Big 10 titles from 2001-2003, and was maned to the Big 10 All Star team. A new banner hangs in the AHS gymnasium recognizing Amsterdam as a Safe Sports School.