Running Rams basketball finishes second in Foothills South with loss to BPHS

The Amsterdam Running Rams varsity basketball team’s nine game win streak took them on a journey that included defeating a two time defending state champion twice, a tournament win in Syracuse, and another one point win over a conference rival. But that odyssey came to an end Tuesday night when a confident Broadalbin-Perth team executed better on offense and defense, putting four players in double digit points to defeat Amsterdam 74-56 at Broadalbin-Perth High School.

“They outplayed us,” Amsterdam head coach Tim Jones said. “It’s humbling. They outplayed us from start to finish.”

The Running Rams led only once, at 2-0 after Matt Fedullo scored in the first minute of the game. Mike Mann tied it at 2-2, then scored from three point range, then scored again and in the blink of an eye the Patriots were up 8-2. Coby Hartz added two more capping a run 10-2 in the first quarter giving BPHS a lead they would never relinquish. Matt was just getting started on his 21 point night, and ended the first period with his third triple of the frame helping the Patriots to a 13-4 heading into quarter number two. Broadalbin-Perth connected ten times from beyond the three point arc against an Amsterdam zone defense that concentrated on the inside play of Hartz and fellow Patriots senior Vinnie DiCaterino, and left players like Mann with too much room to shoot. Mann connected for six of the teams’ long distance shots.

“Having Mike back in the starting lineup made a difference tonight,” Broadalbin-Perth head coach Tucker Gifford said. “When we needed big plays, we got them.”

Mann only scored six points when the Running Rams and Patriots first met back on January 20 at Amsterdam High School. The teams played the same fast paced game as they did two weeks ago, but the Patriots did things a little differently on the defensive side mixing it up, starting out man to man before throwing in some zone formats. Adding to the effectiveness of the defensive effort was Mann, who made at least one three point shot in each quarter.

“We changed our defense,” said Broadalbin-Perth senior Colby Hartz. “The last time we played a 3-2 zone, but we played more man to man tonight and then switched to some zone. We did a lot offensively too. Vinnie (Dicaterino) was tough inside, and when we needed Mike to hit shots, he did.”

The teams traded baskets in the opening minutes of the second quarter with the Rams getting points from Tysean Hanna, Brian Stanavich and Matt Fedullo, and the Patriots getting scores from DiCaterino and Preston Taylor as the margin held at seven points until the teamwork of Taylor to Hartz pushed the momentum in the Patriots favor. Up 19-12, Taylor found Hartz sprinting down the floor on the next two Patriots possessions, and after a basket by the Rams’ Dale Stanavich, twice more to open up a double digit, 27-14 BPHS lead. Hartz scored eight of his 14 points in the second quarter, and it was only the beginning of a 25 point outburst by the Patriots heading into the break.

“Preston (Taylor) was pushing the ball,” Hartz said. “We were getting lay ups and we just kept going.”

Patriots senior guard Connor Pingitore traded free throws with Amsterdam’s Ben Rhodes bringing about a 30-17 score, but Mike Mann found the ball in his hands again and dialed in another long distance shot giving BPHS its largest lead, 16 points. Preston Taylor added two more before AHS’ Kory Bergh got on the board with two points, his only points of the half. Broadalbin-Perth held Amsterdam’s top scorers from their last meeting; Bergh, and Hanna, to a total of six points in the first half, and 21 for the game. At the game in Amsterdam two weeks ago, the Rams duo teamed up for 42 points against BPHS.

“It was Coach Gifford’s defensive clinic every day at practice for the past two weeks,” Broadalbin-Perth coach Tucker Gifford said. “We didn’t have lapses and kept them from getting runs. This was a good test for us.”

Trailing 38-19 at the end of the first half, the only run the Rams made came in the third quarter, but by that time the Patriots had built a 48-24 lead getting points from DiCaterino, Taylor, Evan Dimaio, and Hartz. Bergh hit a three and a free throw and Hanna drove to the rim for two cutting the lead to 48-30, but the run was short lived with DiCaterino answering scores by Hanna and Brian Stanavich with one of his own during three straight sequences complimented by another three by Mann extending the lead to 57-36. Louis Fedullo’s two and Anthony Aponte’s three at the buzzer closed out the last AHS run with the Patriots up 56-41 entering the fourth quarter. The Patriots kept the volume up.

“This was a good response from our team tonight,” Coach Gifford said. “We had a lot of energy and responded.”

The Patriots never took their foot off the accelerator starting the fourth quarter with a drive by Dicaterino assisted by Taylor. Hartz continued to fight for every rebound teaming with DiCaterino for 16 boards, and when Taylor wasn’t on the floor Connor Pigitore was, continuing to push the tempo and keep the Patriots scoring. Pingitore assisted on three BPHS scores in the fourth quarter, and after the senior guard threw up a shot under and over the rim and in, it was 71-48 in the Patriots favor, and time to clear the benches.

“Connor (Pingitore) provided that spark off the bench,” Coach Gifford said. “He provided a good compliment for Mike (Mann) and boosted our energy level. It’s a big game, and we’ve created a rivalry only a few miles down the road. This was a team effort. I’m proud of them.”

DiCaterino followed Mann’s 21 point night with 18 for the Patriots and a team high 10 rebounds. Hartz complimented those efforts with 14 points and six rebounds. Taylor was next with 10 points, Pingitore finished with five points, and Dimaio, and Joe Landrio each had three points in the winning effort. Jon h Person added two rebounds for the Patriots.

“We realized that for us seniors this is our last year, and we want to go far in the sectionals,” Hartz said.

The win improves Broadalbin-Perth’s record in the Foothills Council to 9-4 and a solid third place finish in the South Division behind the Rams and Scotia-Glenville. It also could help their standing when the seedings are announced for sectionals next week.

Amsterdam was led by 13 points from Kory Bergh. Hanna was next with eight points followed by Ben Rhodes with seven, and Keenan Holloway with six. Matt and Louis Fedullo, Brian and Dale Stanavich, and Anthony Aponte each had four points for Amsterdam. Gehrig Garner rounded out the scoring with two points for the Running Rams.

The loss was the third for Amsterdam in the Foothills Council South division leaving them second behind Scotia-Glenville (11-2 Foothills Council South) and prevented them from claiming the division title. Amsterdam had defeated the Tartans twice during their nine game win streak and broke the Tartans 79 game NYSPHSAA win streak. Amsterdam entered the game with the same 10-2 Foothills Council record as the Tartans and held the tiebreaker over the Tartans, but the Rams loss combined with Scotia-Glenville’s 73-50 win over Johnstown on Tuesday night gave the Tartans the division crown.

“I’m glad it’s not sectionals,” Amsterdam coach Tim Jones said. “We had a nice string of wins and I’m proud of this team. This brings us back to reality, but we’ll be back.”

Amsterdam (13-4 overall, 10-3 Foothills Council) now awaits their opponent in a Foothills Council crossover game scheduled for Friday night at Amsterdam High School.

Amsterdam junior varsity win 50-36

Art Ausfeld scored a game high 14 points and Elias Sanchez added 10 more to lead the Amsterdam Running Rams junior varsity team to a 5-36 victory over the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots junior varsity Tuesday night at Broadalbin-Perth High School.

Amsterdam led 13-8 after one quarter and expanded that to 30-18 at the half. William Brown also scored eight points for the Rams, Deanthony Colon added seven points, Andre Jackson poured in five, and Jaden Fallen and Juan Colon had three each for Amsterdam.

Broadalbin-Perth cut the lead to 36-26 in the third quarter before taking the loss. Glenn Buyce led the Patriots with eight points. Devon Holz and Andrew Syzdek collected six points apiece, Matt Hinderliter scored five, Bobby Munn scored four, Leonard Blake had three, and Lucas Coon and Brodryk Benton each scored two for Broadalbin-Perth.

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.