Lady Rams basketball surge past Gloversville in Foothills Council opener

The final score of any game never tells the full story; the details always matter. Tuesday night, the Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity basketball team took care of the details in an efficient fashion and surged past a determined Lady Dragons team 70-57 in their Foothills Council opener at Gloversville High School.

Amsterdam’s accurate passing resulted in 19 assists as a team with both Nina Fedullo and Lucia Liverio dishing out seven apiece. The Lady Rams also connected for nine out of seventeen from three point range and converted eight of eleven free throw attempts. Giuliana Pritchard was the recipient of several of those assists and turned in another strong performance with a double-double, 20 points and 15 rebounds as Amsterdam broke open a tie game in the third quarter and pulled away to win.

“We settled down in the second half and took care of the ball,” Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler said. “Gloversville played more man to man defense than I thought they would. We had to work the ball and take good shots.”

Amsterdam closed out the first half with three assists on its last three possessions. Fedullo found Pritchard close to the rim twice, and Liverio dished to Fedullo on the last one giving the Lady Rams a 40-32 lead at the break. However, Gloversville came out of the locker room with an 8-0 run sparked by six points from Harmony Philo, who led all scorers with 26 points. A basket by Jasmine Gonzalez on an assist by Philo knotted things up at 40-40, but the Lady Rams were ready with an answer.

“Harmony (Philo) was lights out tonight,” Coach Duemler said. “We are a well conditioned team and Gloversville hung right with us. In the second half we played mostly a 3-2 defense making sure to find out where Harmony was.”

Amsterdam answered with Maria Lomanto’s first three point shot of the second half that came on another Fedullo assist and the Lady Rams pulled ahead 43-40. A steal by Fedullo and a put back by Pritchard extended that lead to 45-40 before Philo connected for three again, but Lomanto answered with a drive to the rim on yet another assist by Liverio. Amsterdam senior Grace Catena took a pass from Brady Santiago for a drive to the basket and two more, and Fedullo closed the quarter with a pair of her own putting AHS up 51-44 after three periods of play. The versatile Lady Rams offense was just getting started.

Amsterdam opened the final period with baskets by both Liverio and Fedullo before Gloversville could respond. Kendra Lavery and Alex Benfatti helped the Lady Dragons narrow the margin to 55-48 in front of Elena Fedullo’s first points as a member of the AHS varsity team that boosted the Lady Rams lead to 57-48. Philo wasn’t done though, and just like last seasons’ game at GHS when Philo connected for five long distance shots against AHS, the sophomore sharpshooter drilled one more slicing the advantage to six at 57-51. The Lady Rams however have a pair of sharpshooters of their own from behind the three point stripe, and both Santiago and Lomanto connected on back to back AHS trips down the floor making it a double digit lead, 63-52.

“We had Brady (Santiago) knocking them down in the first half and Maria (Lomanto) in the second half,” Coach Duemler said. “Both are great shooters.”

Lomanto’s last of her three’s gave AHS its largest lead at 66-53. After free throws by Catena and Lomanto built the lead to fourteen, Pritchard put an exclamation point on her strong effort with a put back of a free throw miss as she got position and out-muscled a pair of Gloversville defenders for the ball.

“She’s a tough kid,” Coach Duemler said of Pritchard. “She hurt her foot and I wanted to take her out, but she wouldn’t let me.”

Pritchard did most of her damage in the first half scoring 16 of her team high 20 points, ten in the second quarter including her first three point shot of the season that tied the game at 25-25. Gloversville had taken a slim 25-22 lead on consecutive baskets by Gonzalez, who finished the game with 10 points and six rebounds for the Lady Dragons, but left the game in the second half with a knee injury. Gonzalez had scored Gloversville’s first basket of the second quarter and had six of her total in that period. Philo’s first three of the game tied it briefly at 21-21 before a Pritchard free throw put AHS back in front. A pair of steals by Nina Fedullo and Lomanto stretched 31-25 until a three by Gabby Brown pulled GHS close. Liverio answered with a drive and one to help AHS stay on top by six.

Gloversville started out strong to open the scoring with baskets by Gabby Langley and Philo, and free throws by Kerri Hauser to go in front 7-4. Nina Fedullo and Santiago created a 7-0 run for AHS putting the Lady Rams in front 11-7 and another triple by Santiago later increased that to 14-8. Catena was one of four Lady Rams to connect from beyond the arc and put AHS up 17-12 late in the first quarter. Gloversville had a chance to tie but Gonzalez and Langley only converted on one of two free throw attempts and the Lady Dragons trailed 19-16 after one period. Gloversville was getting to the line often in the first half, but for the game managed only 11 of 25 from the charity stripe. The Lady Rams were more efficient from the line hitting eight of eleven, but making more first shot attempts kept those numbers down. Unlike the first game of the year nearly two weeks ago against Niskayuna where only four players scored, the Lady Rams put seven in the scoring column Tuesday night.

“We had way more than that this game,” Coach Duemler said. “Last time only four kids scored. This was a great game.”

Lomanto netted 16 points and Santiago was next on the scoring chart for AHS with 11 points. Both ended the night with three triples. Nina Fedullo followed with ten points as she continues to clime on the schools’ all time scoring list for girls and boys basketball. Catena finished with six points, Liverio was next with five, and Elena Fedullo had two points for AHS. Nina Fedullo pulled down seven rebounds, her younger sister had two as did Taylor Flint, Catena, and Liverio. Gianna Derosa and Janina Sjoberg both got into the game and although didn’t score, they did help a good defensive effort for AHS.

Philo’s 26 led the Lady Dragons. Gonzalez came through with ten points and six rebounds. Langley had seven points, four rebounds and four steals. Benfatti and Lavery each had four points, while Hauser and Brown rounded out the scoring for Gloversville (2-1) with three points each.

Amsterdam returns to action on Thursday for its Foothills Council home opener against Johnstown. Tip time for the varsity contest is scheduled for 7pm.

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.