Lady Rams basketball come away with a win and a loss at showcase

The Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity basketball team couldn’t have asked for a better start to their 2016 Amsterdam Holiday College Showcase on Tuesday. Led by Nina Fedullo’s 26 points, the Lady Rams scored early and often and never looked back in defeating the Cicero-North Syracuse Lady Northstars 64-48 at Amsterdam High School.

The game was a highly anticipated match up between New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Section 3 Class AA defending champion Cicero-North Syracuse and the undefeated Section 2 Class A runner-up Amsterdam Lady Rams, and a contest between two defense oriented teams. The Lady Rams defense took center stage from the opening tip and boosted them to an early lead.

Nina Fedullo wasted no time in showing what the Lady Rams all-time leading scorer is capable of as she connected from beyond the three point arc for Amsterdam’s first points of the game. A steal by Giuliana Pritchard, and a pass by AHS point guard Lucia Liverio turned into another pair of points by Fedullo’s younger sibling Elena Fedullo and very quickly, the Lady Rams had a 5-0 lead. But, the cascade of baskets didn’t stop there. Boosted by four turnovers in the first four minutes, the Lady Rams built what proved to be an insurmountable lead. Maria Lomanto netted a three on Amsterdam’s next trip down the floor, and after another steal, Nina Fedullo drove the length of the court for two more, then followed that with her second three point shot of the quarter. In less than four minutes, AHS had grown its lead to 13-0.

“Great first four minutes,” Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler said. “That was phenomenal. We were running the floor, making passes and hitting our shots. And we had a great press forcing turnovers.”

The Lady Northstars finally got on the board when Brandi Feeney made a pair of free throws with just under four minutes left in the opening period. Nina Fedullo responded with two more on an inbound pass from Liverio giving her ten points for the quarter. C-NS’ Juliana Vassalio netted the first field goal for the Lady Northstars with less than three minutes to play in the first quarter to make it 15-4. Liverio’s running shot down the middle of the C-NS defense for her only points of the game boosted the AHS lead to 17-4 before the Lady Northstars cut into it with a three by Morgan Siechen, and Feeney’s jump shot after a free throw by Pritchard. A pair of foul shots by Ariana Corasaniti produced a 18-11 score after one period of play. Amsterdam’s offense was operating as efficiently as it has since the start of the season. The Lady Rams led in tips, deflections, and in another key category, rebounds. That continued into the second quarter.

Elena Fedullo turned in her varsity career best eight points and eight rebounds for the Lady Rams. Two of those points came in the opening minute of the second quarter as she took a pass from Grace Catena and moved to the basket. Catena followed that effort with a basket of her own after yet another steal by Nina Fedullo. AHS pushed the lead back to eleven at 22-11. Moments later another steal by Pritchard denied a C-NS scoring attempt. Amsterdam’s defense was at its best and by the time it was over both Pricthard and Nina Fedullo had six steals each.

The Lady Northstars defense clogged the middle of the court making it difficult for AHS to drive to the basket without contact. But that only toughened the AHS resolve. Pritchard made only three foul shots for her points of the game, but the fourth year junior starter came up with a pair of blocks that further frustrated the Cicero-North Syracuse offense, and that led to steals and assists by her Lady Rams teammates. Lomanto and Nina Fedullo both scored putting AHS up 27-14.

“Giuliana (Pritchard) had ten rebounds,” Coach Duemler said. “Sometimes it (scoring) doesn’t happen right away. Maybe tomorrow it will be Giuliana scoring.”

Liverio picked up two of her team high seven assists leading to a pair of triples by Lomanto as the Lady Rams built their largest lead at 34- 19. A running one-hander in the lane by Nina Fedullo made it 36-19, and later after a steal by Liverio, Fedullo grabbed a miss and put it back for a 38-19 lead after two quarters. Nina Fedullo’s rebound was one of 30 by the Lady Rams, at halftime.

“A lot of boxing out,” Elena Fedullo said as to the success of the Lady Rams under the boards. “That was a big part of it.”

Amsterdam continued that aggressive play into the second half and finished with 43 rebounds, more than double their opponents total.

“We got a lot of rebounds,” Coach Duemler said. “And we just kept playing.”

Amsterdam closed the first half on a 7-0 run, and Nina Fedullo picked up where she left off to open the second scoring her team’s first six points as AHS continued to roll, up 44-21. The Lady Northstars began to rally behind Ingram, Vassalio, and Jessica Cook cutting the margin to 44-26. A basket by Elena Fedullo, and Brady Santiago’s first basket for the Lady Rams kept AHS comfortably in front. Cicero-North Syracuse showed the determination of a defending champ and continued to chip away at the AHS lead with Mackenzie White and Isabella Kingsley getting on the board to help C-NS slice the lead to 53-35. The Lady Northstars outscored the Lady Rams by three in the second half, but the lead Amsterdam had built in the opening minutes proved too much to overcome.

“For us to not play a good second half and win by sixteen, was good,” Coach Duemler said. “Sometimes you get a lead and get a little complacent. We can learn from this game.”

Amsterdam’s offense continued to work effectively in the fourth quarter. AHS junior Taylor Flint scored the first points for Amsterdam in the final period, and with that AHS had eight of the nine players who took the court in the scoring column. Flint’s basket made it 55-36 with less than seven minutes left to play. Brady Santiago answered a three by White with one of her own to push the lead to 58-39. Amsterdam connected from long range on seven of 16 tries, the same percentage as their free throws. White’s last three point shot gave her a team high nine points for C-NS and cut the lead to 60-48. A pair of free throws by Fedullo and a jumper by Santiago produced the final margin as AHS held another opponent to less than 50 points.

“We talked about what we needed to do,” Nina Fedullo said. “Be ready and be aggressive. We can never relax.”

Nina Fedullo had ten rebounds to go with her season best and game high 26 points. Maria Lomanto was next on the Amsterdam (6-0) chart with 11 points including three triples. Brady Santiago had 10 points and five rebounds. Lucia Liverio gathered in five rebounds to go with her two points, four steals and seven assists. Grace Catena had two points, two rebounds, three steals, and three assists, Giuliana Pritchard hauled in ten rebounds and had six steals, Elena Fedullo had eight points and eight rebounds, Taylor Flint had two points, and Gianna Derosa added one rebound and one assist to the AHS cause.

Julianna Vassalio followed White on the Cicero-North Syracuse charts with wight points and three rebounds, Nia Williams and Jessica Cook each had seven points, Brandi Feeney and Aniah Ingram each had five points, Morgan Siechen contributed three points, and Ariana Corasaniti and Isabella Kingsley had two points apiece in the C- NS effort.

“We have to play like our first half and not our second,” Coach Duemler said when asked about his next opponent, Simsbury, CT. “They are a tough physical team.”

Simsbury, CT 48 Amsterdam 43

The Lady Rams suffered their first loss of the 2016-2017 season on Wednesday, 48-43 to the Lady Trojans of Simsbury (CT) High School. Zhizhou Miller scored a game high 20 points to lead Simsbury including a key three point shot with less than two minutes to play in the game.

Grace Catena led the Lady Rams with a personal best 16 points. Nina Fedullo complimented that effort with 14 points and ten rebounds, but only three other Amsterdam players scored in the teams’ lowest output of the season.

“Simsbury was a very physical team,” Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler said. “They clogged the lanes, and our offense wasn’t free flowing.”

A three point shot by Catena cut the Simsbury lead to 41-40 with less than three minutes to play, but Miller responded with another triple to boost the lead back to four, and the Lady Rams couldn’t pull out the win.

“We had the momentum,” Coach Duemler said. “Grace hit a three, but Miller hit a three and put it back to four. The credit goes to Simsbury. We can learn from this game and get ready for Scotia.”

Simsbury led 25-18 at the half and continued to frustrate the Lady Rams using every second of the shot clock. Amsterdam matched the physical play of their opponent and out-rebounded the Lady Trojans 30 to 22. The Lady Rams finished with one win and one loss for the second straight year in the Amsterdam Holiday College Showcase.

Catena did most of her damage from the free throw line where she hit nine of ten on her way to a career high 16 as a member of the varsity team. Catena added six rebounds to her strong effort. Giuliana Pritchard scored eight points and brought down four rebounds for Amsterdam (6-1). Brady Santiago added three points, and Elena Fedullo had two points for the Lady Rams.

Miller connected from three point range four times for a Simsbury (CT) team that also defeated Scotia-Glenville on Tuesday to improve their overall record to 5-1. McKenna Finken added 13 points for the Lady Trojans, who are coached by former Broadalbin-Perth basketball standout Sam Zullo.

The Amsterdam Lady Rams return to action on Wednesday, January 5, 2017 when they host Foothills Council rival Scotia- Glenville. The Lady Rams and Lady Tartans have played overtime games three of the last four times they have met. Tip time for the varsity contest is set for 7pm.

Amsterdam maintained its No. 23 ranking in Class A girls basketball when the latest New York State Sportswriters Association (NYSSWA) poll was released on December 28, 2016.

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.