Lady Rams basketball increases Foothills record with win over Scotia-Glenville

The Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity basketball team showed yet another good example of successful teamwork Thursday night in defeating Foothills Council division rival Scotia-Glenville 61-37 at Amsterdam High School. Everyone contributed as Amsterdam took a two game lead in the South Division standings.

“It was a good team win.” Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler said. “A lot of people contributed.”

Key to that success in particular was the play of senior guards Brady Santiago and Maria Lomanto who were assigned the task of guarding Lady Tartans leading scorer, senior Caitlyn Estes. Santiago and Lomanto were at the forefront of a very effective Amsterdam defense that kept Estes off the scoreboard for the entire first half, and held Scotia-Glenville to 14 points, as a team. Meanwhile, the AHS offense took control early eventually allowing all ten players on the Lady Rams roster to get in the scoring column. Santiago and Lomanto were also key to that as well.

Amsterdam traded baskets with the Lady Tartans early in the first quarter with Giuliana Pritchard, Nina Fedullo, Elena Fedullo scoring for AHS, and Rhaymi Porter, and Jazmyn Corker scoring for Scotia- Glenville. A drive to the rim by Lady Rams point guard Lucia Liverio put AHS up 8-3 before Corker converted a basket and a free throw to cut the lead to 8-6. Santiago then struck for her first and only three point shot boosting the lead to 11-6 at the end of one period of play. Amsterdam had the lead in what appeared as a defensive battle, and knew they had to maintain it.

“We didn’t let them get the lead,” Coach Duemler said. “We knew that they feed off momentum.”

Scotia-Glenville tried to gain that momentum at the start of the second quarter as Porter and Mary Kate Palleschi scored on consecutive trips down the floor to cut the led to one at 11-10. But, that was as close as the Lady Tartans would get. Once again Santiago and Lomanto had an impact on the outcome of the game.

A free throw by Lomanto edged AHS to a 12-10 advantage and moments later the senior sharpshooter struck for her only three point shot of the game increasing the margin to 15-10. Amsterdam’s defense continued to frustrate the Lady Tartans, and combined with going 0 for 4 from the free throw line on the their next two possessions, Scotia- Glenville failed to cut into the lead. Brady Santiago was waiting to take advantage and did so at a key moment in the game.

Santiago took a pass out on the wing from Nina Fedullo and put up a shot from long range. Lady Tartans guard Juliana Geniti got a little too close and fouled Santiago sending her to the line for three foul shots. Santiago calmly converted all three giving Amsterdam its largest lead of the game at 18-10.

“The three’s that Brady and Maria hit gave us momentum,” Coach Duemler said. “It gave us a boost.”

The Amsterdam defense then continued to work effectively, and despite not using its press for most of the game, the Lady Rams did what they do well, lead in tips and deflections, and that created turnovers.

Nina Fedullo stole the ball from Porter near the AHS basket and drove down the court eventually working the ball to Pritchard who connected for yet another three point shot. The Lady Rams completed a 10-0 run in the second quarter, and were up by eleven taking a 23-14 lead into the locker room at halftime. Amsterdam turned defense into offense and allowed only four Scotia-Glenville players to score, one of them was not Estes.

“We tried to deny her (Estes) the ball,” Coach Duemler said. “Not let her catch it. Our defense looked like a three-two, but it wasn’t it. Brady (Santiago) and Maria (Lomanto) were key to that and they worked hard on defending Caitlyn Estes.”

Combined with Estes not scoring, the Lady Tartans had trouble keeping control of the ball. Pritchard and Nina Fedullo each had three steals, and Scotia-Glenville was whistled for traveling on several trips down the floor. Even without pressing for much of the game. Amsterdam was still pressuring mistakes by their opponent.

“That was our defense,” Santiago said. “Everyone did what they needed to do.”

“We stepped up,” added Lomanto. “Everyone has a role and that’s what we did.”

Santiago and Lomanto are not always on the floor together as one often subs for the other, but Thursday night they were, and it made a difference.

“When we’re on the floor together it’s difficult to guard us both at the same time,” added Lomanto.

Another aspect to Thursday night’s win was Amsterdam’s performance when at the free throw line. The Lady Rams went to the line often in the second half and connected on their first ten tries in the third quarter helping them open up a 39-22 lead. Ten of Nina Fedullo’s team high 15 points came from from the foul line with five of those in the third period. Nina Fedullo, Elena Fedullo, and Santiago all netted free throws during the run of accuracy from the stripe. Overall the Lady Rams were 25 for 35 from the free throw line. Scotia Glenville was 13 for 26.

“We shot over seventy percent on free throws,” Coach Duemler said. “They shot only fifty percent. You can win games from the free throw line.”

Adding to the frustration for the Lady Tartans was the Amsterdam bench. Estes scored eight of the Lady Tartans 13 points in the third period, but Amsterdam’s offense applied as much pressure as its defense thanks to an effective bench. After the string of free throw success, Taylor Flint delivered a crushing three point shot putting AHS up by twenty, 42-22.

“Taylor (Flint) gave us good minutes again,” Coach Duemler said. “Gianna (Derosa), Janina (Sjoerg) gave us good minutes.”

Grace Catena scored the first four points of the fourth quarter for AHS as the Lady Rams worked to get everyone on the board. Santiago, Liverio, and Nina Fedullo pushed the lead to 54-33 after a 7-1 run midway through the final eight minutes. Derosa picked up her two points taking the ball on and end to end drive to the rim for a 57-35 AHS lead with less than three minutes to play. Realizing what was possible, people in the crowd began cheering for Sjoberg to enter the game. Around the two minute mark, Sjoberg stepped onto the floor and after being fouled on a rebound attempt, netted a free throw to give the Lady Rams yet another game in which all ten players on the roster scored. Sjoberg wasn’t done though, and seconds later finished the scoring after taking an assist by Flint for a layup to produce the final result.

Nina Fedullo and Pritchard both had “double-doubles”. Fedullo added 13 rebounds to her 15 points. Pritchard had 12 rebounds to go along with her ten points. Santiago finished with 12 points, and between the three of them scored as many points as the Lady Tartans team. Lomanto, Liverio, Elena Fedullo, and Catena each had four points. Catena added seven rebounds, and Liverio contributed four assists. Flint and Sjoberg had three points each with Sjoberg chipping in two rebounds, and Derosa had two points for Amsterdam (7-1 overall, 5-0 Foothills Council).

Jazmyn Corker led Scotia- Glenville with 13 points, and six rebounds. Estes scored all eight of her points in the third quarter. Mary Kate Palleschi added six points, and five rebounds, Rhaymi Porter finished with five points, and six rebounds, Juliana Geniti had four points, and Asia Winney had one point for the Lady Tartans.

Amsterdam will be on the road for its next three games. The Lady Rams travel to Hudson Falls on Monday followed by a trip to South Glens Falls on Thursday. The road trip concludes with a game in Boston, MA against New Mission High School at Emmanuel College on Saturday, January 14. The Lady Rams next home game will be against Glens Falls on Thursday, January 19. The two teams have met in the Foothills Council title game the past two seasons with each team winning one. 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.