AHS Running Rams win in overtime thriller 83-82

Even when it was over, it wasn’t over when the referee finally blew his whistle Friday night at Amsterdam High School. The game featured a scoring clinic by two of the top scorers in Section 2 boys basketball, and a gutsy performance in overtime by Amsterdam junior Tysean Hanna, and an accurate performance from the three point stripe by Queensbury sophomore Patrick Conway before it came to an end. All of that excitement ended by a simple free throw with Amsterdam on the winning end, defeating Queensbury 83-82.

Hanna scored ten of his 23 points and all but three of his teams’ points in the overtime session to help Amsterdam take an 80-76 lead as the minutes and seconds ticked away. Hanna drove to the rim on three straight trips down the floor by the Rams scoring each time, and when fouled tacked on the extra point. Conway and senior guard Brett Rodriguez kept Queensbury close before a steal by AHS senior Kory Bergh turned into a pair of free throws and a 82-76 AHS lead.

Queensbury’s Justin Troelstra converted a lay up and a foul shot to make it a one possession game with 11.4 seconds left and the Spartans fouled AHS senior forward Ben Rhodes setting up the deciding point of the game. Rhodes made one of his two free throws giving the Rams a four point lead 83-79. That one free throw could not have been more important as Conway connected from the corner baseline for a three point shot cutting the lead to 83-82 with 3.3 seconds left in the game. During the scramble that followed on the inbound pass, one of the referee’s blew his whistle and said that the game was over. The game clock showed 1.4 seconds remaining. It was noticed by the official that the clock had stopped while the ball was still in play, and it was then determined that time had expired. The game was over.

“Even when it ended it didn’t,” Amsterdam head coach Tim Jones said. “We were satisfied with the outcome but we need to execute better. When the ball doesn’t move we don’t execute. Our defensive rotations need to get better.”

In addition to Hanna’s heroics in overtime, two players who did execute were Amsterdam’s Kory Bergh, who finished with a game high 33 points, and Queensbury’s Brett Rodriguez who was next on the chart leading his team with 28 points. Bergh did most of his scoring before halftime while Rodriguez caught fire late in regulation.

Rodriguez scored 13 points in the fourth quarter alone finally giving Queensbury its first lead of the game at 53-52 after stealing the ball at half court and driving in for layup. Rodriguez converted a pair of free throws to push the Spartans lead to 55-52 with six minutes left in regulation, but the Rams had an answer in Bergh, who re-entered the game wearing number 13 in place of his number 4 jersey. Bergh had suffered a cut on his chin in the third quarter and had to get another jersey because of the blood rule in place for school sports. It didn’t matter what number Bergh was wearing, he answered that call and delivered a three point shot on the Rams next trip down the floor to tie the game. The excitement that had been building all evening had reached its high point.

“I knew I had to come out on fire,” Bergh said. “He (Rodriguez) is a high energy player and he went off. I had all the trust in my teammates.”

Rodriguez and Hanna traded baskets to keep the score knotted at 57-57 before Conway drilled the third of his game high five triples putting the Spartans up 60-57. Amsterdam countered with a put back by Keenan Holloway and consecutive steals by Bergh and Rhodes that gave Asterdam the lead again 64-60. Holloway blocked a shot by Rodriguez close to the rim and Hanna turned that into two more points and a six point lead with less than two minutes to play in regulation. Another set of foul shots by Hanna made it 68-62, but Rodriguez wasn’t finished and after a three by teammate Justin Troelstra had cut the lead to 68-65, he buried a triple of his own to tie the game. The Spartans fouled Hanna on the next play, and two free throws later the Rams had a 70-68 lead, but Rodriguez drove the length of the court with time running out in regulation and drew a foul on the other end. The senior hit both free throws to send the game into overtime.

“He’s a good player,” Hanna said. “He was driving pretty strong to the basket.”

Hanna excelled during the overtime as the game became more of a “four on four” challenge with Bergh and Rodriguez defending one another as both tried to gain an advantage. Hanna battled his way inside the Spartans defense and finished at the end converting both lay ups and free throws. The Rams hit 20 free throws for the game with Hanna connecting for nine of them.

“We run four on four drills in practice,” Hanna said. “It felt great. My teammates gave me the ball and I had to knock down shots.”

Hanna finished with 23 points and nine rebounds. He was one of only five Rams to get in the scoring column for the game. Ben Rhodes finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, Keenan Holloway added six points and six rebounds, and Matt Fedullo had four points. Gehrig Garner had a pair of rebounds. Dale Stanavich and David Crawford each had one rebound and one steal in the Rams cause.

“Tysean did a fantastic job at the end of the game,” Coach Jones said. “He’s really grown this year. Overall we were pushing the tempo and we were fortunate enough to score one more point.”

Hanna contributed five points through the first two quarters where Bergh took center stage scoring 21 points in the first half including 13 in the first quarter that jump started a 14-2 run by the Rams to open the game. Queensbury countered with points by Rodriguez, Conway (19 points for the game), Matt Zita (13- points),Troelstra (10 points), and John Dennett (8 points ) to cut into the first quarter lead with Amsterdam up only 20-17 after one. Amsterdam stayed a step ahead of the Spartans in the second quarter with baskets by Matt Fedullo and Rhodes keeping the Rams in front. A three by Bergh at the buzzer to end the first half put AHS up 37-28. A basket by Rhodes on an assist by Dale Stanavich kept Amsterdam in front 52-48 at the end of the third period setting up the dramatic ending.

Amsterdam (6-3 overall, 5-2 Foothills Council) picked up its third win in the last four games. It was also their fourth win that was decided by two points or less. The Rams will look to keep on winning when they welcome the defending NYSPHSAA Class A champions Scotia-Glenville Tartans to the AHS gymnasium on Tuesday.

“We have to be ready for them,” Hanna said. “We’ll be prepared.”

Game time for the varsity contest is scheduled for 7:30pm.

(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.