Lady Rams win fourth straight, topple Queensbury 63-34

So far, the only disappointment early in the 2016-2017 high school basketball season for the Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity team has been a game in New York City postponed due to a recent snowstorm. Monday night, the Lady Rams got back to work and outplayed a physical Queensbury Lady Spartans team to win their fourth straight, 63-34 at Amsterdam High School.

“Usually teams score in the thirties and forties against them (Queensbury),” Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler said. “For us to score in the sixties on a night when we couldn’t make a foul shot in the first half. Give our kids credit.”

Once again the Lady Rams were better at the fundamentals than their opponent. Amsterdam out-rebounded the Lady Spartans 39-27, and did a better job connecting from the free throw line where they were 18 for 34 overall including a 12 for 17 performance in the second half. Queensbury’s foul shot woes continued throughout the game, as a team they were 8 for 25. Amsterdam also got another big night from the duo of senior Nina Fedullo (19 points) and junior Giuliana Pritchard (21 points). The front court tandem combined to score 40 points, getting 34 of that total on drives to the rim and foul shot attempts.

Amsterdam’s Elena Fedullo and Queensbury’s Caitlin Bolen traded baskets to open the game before the fouls started to mount. A free throw by AHS senior Maria Lomanto put AHS up by one in front of a jump shot by Abby Doin that gave the Lady Spartans their last lead of the game. A lay up by Pritchard followed by a pair of free throws by Nina Fedullo, and a steal by Fedullo turned the game in Amsterdam’s favor and they never looked back. Prictchard scored again to increase the lead to 11-5 and a steal by Grace Catena turned in to a pair of free throws by Brady Santiago as the Lady Rams continued to show the teamwork that has defined their season.

“We executed well,” Pritchard said. “Everybody was scoring, and passing. We were finding the open man and just got comfortable with each other.”

Catena came through with her second steal of the quarter and alertly passed to a sprinting Lucia Liverio, who found Nina Fedullo wide open for her first three point shot of the game as the Lady Rams built a 16-5 lead after one period of play.

“We play as a team, very unselfish,” Nina Fedullo said. “We’re just starting to get into the flow.”

Things didn’t get much better for Queensbury in the second quarter as the Lady Rams continued to press on defense forcing turnovers. Amsterdam had no trouble taking care of the ball when on offense, but the Lady Spartans couldn’t gain any momentum when several possessions ended with a traveling call.

Catena got things started in the second quarter with a pair of free throws and Nina Fedullo connected for her second triple less than a minute later putting the Lady Rams up 20-7. A brief spurt by Queensbury that saw Hailey Ballard, who led Queensbury with nine points, and Emma Hayes (7 points) score on back to back trips cut the AHS lead in half, but the Lady Rams turned things up with more teamwork intensity. Santiago drove in for two and Pritchard completed a play that saw another big rebound by Catena and an assist by Santiago. Amsterdam doubled up Queensbury 28-14 at the half.

“Our press is improving,” Coach Duemler said. “Our kids were hungry on defense getting tips and deflections.”

Amsterdam kept up the pressure in the third quarter where Pritchard did most of her damage scoring 11 of her game high 21 points. Devon Bolen scored the first two points of the quarter, but the Lady Rams scored the next twelve. Elena Fedullo assisted on lay up by Pritchard , Nina Fedullo put in another two off a rebound, and a pair of steals by Pritchard and a shot by Nina Fedullo off an inbound pass by Liverio ignited a game changing run that put AHS up 40-16 in a matter of minutes. Amsterdam led 48-25 heading into the fourth quarter, and that also gave AHS coach Eric Duemler a chance to rest some of his starters, most notably Pritchard and Fedullo.

Nearly three minutes had elapsed in the fourth quarter before Amsterdam’s Gianna Derosa connected with a jump shot giving the Lady Rams twice as many as the Lady Spartans at 50-25. A three pointer by Lomanto extended the lead to 56-25 before Pritchard and Nina Fedullo returned as the whistles continued to sound meaning more free throws. The Lady Rams continued to play strong defense and held the Lady Spartans to single digits in three of the four quarters, outscoring them 35-20 in the second half. Another notable statistic, the Lady Rams had all ten players get at least one rebound for the second straight game.

“I can’t complain about our defense,” Coach Duemler said. “You’re not going to lose many games when you give up 34 points.”

Brady Santiago finished the night with six points and a pair of rebounds for Amsterdam. Grace Catena added five points, four rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals, Elena Fedullo and Maria Lomanto each had four points and two rebounds, and Lucia Liverio and Gianna Derosa each had two points and one rebound. Taylor Flint and Janina Sjoberg each had a pair of rebounds for Amsterdam (4-0, 3-0 Foothills Council).

Meghan O’Connor scored six points for Queensbury. Devon Bolen had five points, Caitlin Bolen, Abby Doin, and Hope Sullvan each had two points for the Lady Spartans. Hailey Ballard led Queensbury with 11 rebounds. Emma Hayes also had seven rebounds, and Deja Perkins scored one point for Queensbury.

Amsterdam’s game against St. Josephs’ of Brooklyn, NY at the Hoops Queens Winter Ball, Elite Women’s Basketball Showcase in Queens, NY on Saturday was canceled due to the snowstorm this past weekend, but the possibility of that game still being played is not out of the question.

“We might work something out with them to get that game in,” Coach Duemler said. “Maybe they could come here.”

Amsterdam returns to action on Thursday at 7pm with a Foothills Council contest at Broadalbin-Perth High School. The Lady Patriots have had a reputation of pulling off upsets over the past couple of years including a win over Scotia-Glenville last season.

“Broadalbin-Perth always plays hard,” Coach Duemler said. “We have to play sharp and do the things we’re expected to do, and take care of the ball.”

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.