Lady Rams basketball win streak reaches eight, rolls past Scotia-Glenville

Monday’s game between the Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity basketball team and the Scotia-Glenville Lady Tartans featured some of the Lady Rams greatest hits: a relentless defense led by a junior guard that neutralized their opponents’ leading scorer and created turnovers, the determination from another junior guard, who found her three point shot and sparked the Amsterdam offense, and the return of a senior leader after missing much of the season with an injury. What the game did not include was another fourth quarter comeback, last second overtime win. Amsterdam never trailed and breezed to a 64-41 victory over their division rival at Amsterdam High School.

“It’s nice to not have an overtime game with Scotia-Glenville,” Amsterdam head coach Eric Duemler said after the win. “We wanted to be up-tempo with the ball. I’m happy with the number of assists we had.”

Amsterdam had 15 assists for the game with many of them coming off the 13 steals the team racked up starting in the first quarter as they wreaked havoc on the Lady Tartans, who unlike the previous four meetings between the two teams never led in the game. It all started on a free throw by Giuliana Pritchard and continued with a pair of steals by Nina Fedullo and Autumn Duemler that were quickly converted into points by Fedullo and a 5-0 AHS lead. The Lady Tartans got as close as 5-4 after baskets by Alayana Landolfo and Mary Kate Palleschi, but would get no closer. Brady Santiago connected from three point range igniting a 10-0 run boosting the lead to 15-4. It was also Santiago’s play on the defensive end that helped Amsterdam keep that lead. Santiago was responsible for guarding Lady Tartans leading scorer Caitlin Estes in a “box and one” format that was effective in the Lady Rams first game this season against SGHS two weeks ago, and held Estes to only five points in the first half and 11 points for Monday’s game.

“We mixed up our presses and had a box and one with Brady on Caitlin Estes,” Coach Duemler said. “Brady did a nice job taking Estes out of their offense. Caitlin Devine coming back also helped us.”

Devine had missed the first 14 games of the season but had an immediate impact on the court and contributed a steal and an assist on Maria Lomanto’s first three point make to cap the first quarter run. Estes’ only basket of the quarter and a put back by Mary Kate Palleschi, who led Scotia-Glenville with 19 points, later cut the lead to 15-8 after one period of play. Devine subbed in for starting point guard Lucia Liverio throughout the game and had a slightly scary moment in the first quarter when she fell while moving with the ball. Amazingly, she did not travel and managed to get the ball to Fedullo for her first assist of the year.

“It felt so good being back with my family,” said Devine, who spent much of the year on the bench helping with both the junior varsity and varsity teams. “It’s different watching the game from the bench, but once I’m out there I’m back where I belong. I just had to get back in the flow.”

While Devine was getting used to being back on the court, Lomanto was finding her three point shot again. The junior guard had scored only two points in the Lady Rams last three games, but broke out against SGHS in the first quarter and continued firing away in the opening moments of the second, pouring in another three to put AHS back up by ten, 18-8. SGHS answered with baskets by Palleschi and Asia Winney, but Devine found Grace Catena moving along the baseline,who converted the lay up and started another AHS run that included steals by Fedullo and Devine. An assist by Fedullo on Rayven Roach’s shot close to the rim and a steal and a drive by Fedullo had the Lady Rams by 14. Estes only points of the second quarter, a three from the top of the key cut the advantage to 28-17, but leaving Lomanto open from behind the arc once again proved costly for the Lady Tartans. Lomanto got nothing but net for her team best third triple of the game.

“Maria has stayed after practice working on her shot and it paid off today,” said Coach Duemler, who added that Lomato hadn’t been feeling well the past couple of days. “She compliments Brady very well at the shooting guard position. We welcomed her back at halftime.”

Jailene Irizarry was the ninth Lady Ram to score when she converted a lay up to give Amsterdam a 33-19 lead at the end of the first half. The Lady Rams consistently and effectiely moved the ball around the court looking for an opening to the basket. Their patience and accuracy continued to pay off in the second half especially in the third quarter where eight of their 14 points came off assists, three by Devine.

“It’s great to have Kaitlyn Devine back,” Nina Fedullo said. “I love playing with her. We were practicing hard all week long knowing what to expect.”

Devine found Fedullo under the rim on an inbound pass for her first assist of the third quarter giving AHS a 38-23 lead. Devine’s next assist also found Fedullo headed for the rim boosting the lead to 40-25, and moments later Devine turned one of her three steals into a free throw and Amsterdam’s biggest lead at 16 points. A frustrating night for the Lady Tartans boiled over after a three by Estes cut the deficit to 41-28,when a foul called on SGHS’ Alayana Landolfo led to a technical foul and a pair of free throws by Lomanto and a jump shot by Fedullo on the ensuing possession. Amsterdam led 45-28 and stayed a step ahead of their division rival with a double digit lead the rest of the way. The Lady Tartans tried to rally behind the five points by Palleschi near the end of the quarter, but Devine’s third assist to Fedullo kept AHS in front by double digits headed to the final eight minutes.

“I missed playing with Caitlin (Devine),” Giuliana Pritchard said. “She’s been here since I first started playing on varsity as an eighth grader. It’s nice to have her back on the court.”

Pritchard assisted on a two point make by Autumn Duemler to end a mini three point run by the Lady Tartans to start the fourth quarter. A put back by Fedullo led to another three point play increasing the AHS lead to 52-36. The Lady Rams took only nine shots from the free throw nine making six, but the free throws didn’t have the impact the offense did in transition where AHS poured in 10 points immediately after a steal. Santiago and Fedullo converted turnovers into points and Devine picked up another assist on an 8-0 run midway through the period opening up a 60-39 AHS lead. Fedullo and Devine teamed up for eight of the 13 steals by Amsterdam.

“Pressure leads to turnovers in transition,” added Fedullo, who had a game high 24 points, seven rebounds, and five steals.

Amsterdam’s defense meanwhile held Estes to one point in the fourth quarter. Estes finished with 11 points and five rebounds for the game with two three pointers.

“Getting the ball out of Caitlin Estes hands was important,” Coach Duemler said. “We were shooting the gaps in their offense and attacking the other girls to create turnovers and it worked.”

Every player that touched the floor for the Lady Rams contributed in the win. Rayven Roach hauled in an offensive rebound and put it through for two of her four points. Roach finished with a team high eight rebounds. The tallest girl on the court then added the final assist for the Lady Rams on a basket by Grace Catena producing the final score. These are all signs of a team that is ready to make a statement in the upcoming sectional tournament.

“We were more confident knowing what we had to do against a team like Scotia-Glenville,” Pritchard said. We had a solid game plan.”

Lomanto was next on the scoring charts with 13 points and two rebounds for the Lady Rams. Santiago had seven points and one rebound, and Autumn Duemler contributed six points and as many boards. Grace Catena and Rayven Roach had four points each, Devine finished her first time on the court scoring three points, bringing down three rebounds and had three steals and four assists. Pritchard had one point and three rebounds for the Lady Rams cause, Lucia Liverio gathered three rebounds and added a pair of steals, and Victoria Barone-Lopez added one rebound in the Amsterdam win. AHS out-rebounded Scotia-Glenville 36 to 15.

Scotia-Glenville was led by Palleschi’s 19 point, three rebound effort. Estes finished with 11 points and five rebounds, Asia Winney was next with five points, followed by Jazmyne Corker with three points, Landolfo with two, and Juliana Geniti with one point for the Lady Tartans (6-6 Foothills Council).

Amsterdam improved to 12-3 overall and 11-1 in the Foothills Council with the win. The Lady Rams are also 7-0 against Foothills Council South Division teams and have clinched a spot in the league championship that is scheduled for February 5 at the Glens Falls Civic Center against the winner of the Foothills Council North division,m which is likely to be decided when co-leaders Hudson Falls and Glens Falls meet on the final day of the regular season. Amsterdam’s next performance will be Wednesday at Saratoga Springs High School for a rematch with the Lady Blue Streaks who feature a quartet of guards that combined for 10 three pointers in their win over the Lady Rams back in December. Amsterdam will head for a tournament in New York City this weekend where they will play John F. Kennedy High School from the Bronx on Saturday and the Patrick School from New Jersey on Sunday. Tip time for Wednesday’s game is set for 7pm.

Amsterdam JV wins 35-19

Gianna Derosa and Karly Power each scored 10 points leading the junior varsity squad over Scotia-Glenville 35-19 Monday night at AHS. Amsterdam led 12-0 after one period and 21-6 at halftime. Elena Fedullo had four points for Amsterdam. Taylor Flint, Gabby Stanavich, Lilian Orengo, Yarlyn Toro, and Mady Carmona each had two points, and Natalie Fernandez had one point in the winning effort. Sophia Schaub and Kelly Mayette each had five points to lead Scotia-Glenville.

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.