Nina Fedullo, Amsterdam High School’s all time leading scorer in girls basketball, signed a letter of intent on Wednesday to play for the Lady Knights of the College of St. Rose in Albany, NY. Family and friends, including members of the Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity basketball team, gathered at the AHS media center to show their support.
“It was definitely close to home,” Fedullo said. “That’s what I wanted, so my family could come to see me play.”
Several NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 schools showed an interest in Fedullo including the University of Albany Lady Great Danes, who made a statement in the 2016 NCAA Division 1 women’s basketball tournament by picking up their first tournament win with an upset of Florida in the first round. But in the end it was the Lady Knights program that stood out for Fedullo.
“A lot of division one and division two schools came out,” Fedullo said. “But, I could make an impact at St. Rose right away.”
Fedullo will join a Lady Knights program coached by Karen Haag, who has built up the St. Rose program into one of the most consistent in the NCAA Division 2 Northeast 10 Conference. The Lady Knights have reached the NCAA Division 2 Tournament 11 times in Haag’s 15 years as head coach. Haag enters her sixteenth season with 216 wins as leader of the Lady Knights and will continue to build a team that went 14-13 in 2015-2016. St. Rose currently has two players from area high schools on its roster. Junior Morgan Sullivan of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School, and incoming freshman Leah Dollard of Albany High School are part of this year’s squad. Fedullo is expected to fit right in with the Lady Knights program.
“Her work ethic is off the charts,” Amsterdam varsity girls basketball coach Eric Duemler said. “She just keeps developing and her skill set makes her an impact player.”
Fedullo has played every position on the floor for the Lady Rams since joining the varsity team three years ago, and nothing has stopped her from succeeding. In 2016 Fedullo broke Amy Jo Stewart’s record for most points by a Lady Rams player and became the first girls basketball player in school history to score one thousand points in a career. She still has one more season left in a Lady Rams uniform and will add to the 1,059 points, and is on target to become the Lady Rams all time leader in rebounds as well. Before she’s done, only Todd Cetnar could be ahead of her on the all time scoring list for a basketball player at AHS. At the college level, she likely will be counted on for her versatility once again.
“At St. Rose she’ll be able to play multiple spots on the court as their point guard or forward,” Coach Duemler said. “Her three point shot keeps getting better and that will help her to do more.”
In receiving the scholarship, Fedullo joins some elite company. Dozens of Lady Rams basketball players have gone on to play at the college level through the years, but the only other Amsterdam girls basketball player to receive a full scholarship was Brittany Stahura, who played for Bryant College during a time when the program was transitioning to a Division 1 program.
“We’ve had over thirty girls go on to play in college,” Coach Duemler said. “But, Nina is only the second scholarship player.”
Fedullo has certainly made her mark on the Amsterdam Lady Rams basketball program and brought along plenty of excitement with her as the Lady Rams are expected to once again contend for a Foothills Council title and more importantly a sectional title, which would be the first for an Amsterdam High School girls sports team. Fedullo will get her chance to take her game to the next level with a Lady Knights team next season.
“She’s going to be an impact player from the first year on,” Coach Duemler said. “The coaches there have a lot of energy so she will fit right in. It’s also close to home so we can go see her play.”
The College of St. Rose offers 131 undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs with schools of arts and humanities, education, business and, mathematics and sciences. Fedullo said she has yet to declare a major.
“I’m undecided,” Fedullo said. “St. Rose has a good exploratory program, and as a freshman that’s what I’ll be looking at.”
Before she begins her college basketball career, Fedullo and her Lady Rams teammates have their sights set on becoming the school’s first sectional champion for girls sports teams. Last year they were close and led Averill Park late in the Section 2 Class A final at Hudson Valley Community College before Averill Park rallied to win by five points. But, even as the time ran out on the 2015-2016 season the goal remained the same.
“We want to win the sectional title,” Fedullo said.
Fedullo and her teammates came straight from practice on Wednesday afternoon to attend her signing. Tomorrow the varsity team of ten players will be back in the gym working toward that goal. The Amsterdam Lady Rams 2016-2017 season begins November 30 against Niskayuna. And when that goal is achieved, Fedullo can set her sights on helping the Lady Knights to a title of their own.