Late in the second quarter of Thursday night’s Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity basketball game with the Johnstown Lady Bills, Amsterdam senior Nina Fedullo took a pass from point guard Lucia Liverio and drove the length of the court for a lay up and two points. To many it may have seemed like only a moment in time during the 78-50 Lady Rams win at Amsterdam High School, but for Fedullo it was a milestone in her career. The person she passed on the all time scoring list at AHS was her father Lou Fedullo, who scored 1098 points in his career with the Running Rams.
“We talked about it,” Fedullo said when asked about moving past her father on the all time scoring list. “We knew it was coming. It’s another accomplishment.”
Nina Fedullo led Amsterdam (3-0) with 20 points on a night when five Lady Rams scored in double digits, and nine players contributed at least two points to the total. As has been the case with all three of the Lady Rams games this season, the team has demonstrated unselfish play and a true definition of teamwork. That, combined with quickness and athleticism proved to be more than the Lady Bills could handle.
“It was a track meet athletically,” Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler. “A lot of kids got minutes and again we had good balance.”
Amsterdam was in another tight battle early on as the Lady Rams opened up a 10-2 lead in the first quarter with junior Giuliana Pritchard scoring six points on a rebound of a miss and a free throw and later on a three point shot. Johnstown got four points apiece from Mallory Baldwin and Claire Guzielek to tie things up at 10-10 before Amsterdam responded with a pair of free throws from Maria Lomanto, and a hook shot in the lane from Pritchard, who rebounded another miss moments later to extend the AHS lead to 16-11. Pritchard scored all ten of her points in the first quarter but spent much of the first half on the bench with foul trouble. That only gave her teammates a chance to show what they could do, and the Lady Rams once again showed that a team with only ten players has plenty of depth. Pritchard wasn’t the only Amsterdam player to spend time on the bench during a foul filled opening period and the Lady Bills tried to match up. Chelsea Cirillo, Anna Lee, Jess Vannostrand, and Baldwin all scored as the Lady Bills closed on a 6-2 run cutting the AHS lead to 23-19 at the end of one quarter.
“We had a goal to come in and compete for 32 minutes,” Johnstown coach Tim Derwin said. “I feel we met that goal. The problem was we had sixteen turnovers in the first half.”
Three turnovers in the first minute of the second quarter led to points by Nina Fedullo and Grace Catena, and suddenly Amsterdam had pushed the lead back up ten, 29-19. The quickness and athleticism kicked in and strong moves to the rim by Liverio and Catena extended the advantage to 33-19. Amsterdam was in front to stay.
“They are a good team and we had trouble matching up,” Coach Derwin said of the Lady Rams. “We knew they would press and trap us. The turnovers killed us.”
Johnstown cut the lead down to 33-27 on consecutive baskets by Alison Morey, Cirillo, and Guzielek, but Amsterdam roared back with points by Nina Fedullo, Brady Santiago, Liverio and Taylor Flint to put the Lady Rams up 41-29 at the end of the first half.
During the Lady Rams 8-2 run that closed out the second quarter, Nina Fedullo hauled in a rebound under the Amsterdam basket and rifled a long distance pass to Taylor Flint who was unguarded at the other end of the court. Flint scored her first points as a member of the varsity team. Earlier in the first quarter Flint’s teammate Gianna Derosa hustled for a rebound and was fouled on the play. The junior guard confidently netted both free throws for her first points in a varsity Amsterdam uniform.
Amsterdam started the second half with the same energy that had finished the first. Santiago’s only three point shot of the game highlighted a 10-2 run that included baskets by Nina Fedullo, and Lomanto boosting the already double digit lead to 51-31. Lomanto connected for a three, and Nina Fedullo collected nine of her game high 20 points in the third period. Overall, Amsterdam outscored the Lady Bills 41-20 during the second and third quarters. Amsterdam led 64-39 when Liverio reached double digits with a drive to the rim to close out the third quarter. Santiago (11 points), and Lomanto (13 points) scored in the fourth quarter and joined Nina Fedullo, Liverio (10 points), and Pritchard (10 points) to give AHS five players in double digits. Elena Fedullo scored four points in the fourth quarter to put nine players on the score sheet for Amsterdam. The only AHS player to not score was Janina Sjoberg, but the senior from Finland gathered in two rebounds during her playing time in the fourth period to give the Lady Rams a full compliment of ten players with at least one rebound.
“We were doing the right things, running with speed,” coach Duemler said. “Our press was good and we’re getting deflections when we’re on defense leading us in transition. I’m not happy about the fifty points. I think we can do better.”
Nina Fedullo finished the night with a double-double; twenty points and ten rebounds. In the process she also moved into third place on the all time scoring list passing Kory Bergh (1100 points) early in the third quarter. Nina Fedullo now has 1108 points for her career trailing only Mike Sollecito (1221 points), and Todd Cetnar (1621 points) on the school career scoring list.
“Nina’s been a great player,” Coach Duemler said. “An extremely hard worker. Anything she achieves is through hard work and effort. She’s been the face of our program for the last four years, leading by example and she’s making her teammates better. Giuliana Pritchard will be in that place next year.”
Pritchard set the tone for the game in the first quarter netting ten points and bringing down six rebounds. The presence of both Fedullo and Pritchard on the floor has so far been more than opponents can handle, especially when a strong supporting cast is confidently knocking down their shots as well. It’s a difficult task matching up with the Lady Rams.
“I thought Chelsea Cirillo played well and kept us in it early,” Coach Derwin said. “But in the end it was just too much size and speed.”
Cirillo scored five points and hauled in eight rebounds for Johnstown. Baldwin led the Lady Bills with 11 points, Guzielek and Anna Lee each scored eight points, Abby Vandewalker added seven, Jess Vannostrand and Alison Morey had four apiece, and Kanako Sasaki scored three for the Lady Bills.
Elena Fedullo collected seven rebounds for the Lady Rams. Grace Catena had six points, five rebounds and a pair of assists. Brady Santiago and Lucia Liverio each had three rebounds in the winning effort. Liverio also added four assists.
“That’s two good games for Lucia at point guard,” Coach Duemler said. “She’s made a lot of progress a at the position.”
The Lady Rams bench scored 18 points, came away with 15 rebounds, and kept up the pressure when on defense that helped cause the 16 Johnstown turnovers in the first half.
“Our bench came in and did a great job tonight,” Giuliana Pritchard said.
Amsterdam started a different lineup than the previous two games. Four seniors, Nina Fedullo, Lomanto, Santiago, and Catena, along with Pritchard, a junior started the contest.
“I wanted to give the seniors a home start,” Coach Duemler said. “I wanted to keep them guessing (on the stating lineup).”
The Lady Rams return to the court this Saturday at Francis Lewis High School in Queens, NY for the 2016 Hoops Queens Winter Ball Elite Women’s Basketball Showcase where they will face St. Josephs of Brooklyn, NY at 4pm.
“Coach (Duemler) always says to us to take it one game at a time,” Nina Fedullo said.
Amsterdam returns to Foothills Council action on Monday when they host the Queensbury Lady Spartans. The varsity game tip off is set for 7pm.