Lady Rams bring four game win streak into Thursday’s big game with Glens Falls

Thursday night’s game between the Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity basketball team and the Glens Falls Lady Indians is the type of match up that high school basketball fans wait all season to happen. It’s the battle of two state-ranked teams, both unbeaten in their league. Amsterdam is coming off a stretch of three straight road wins and overall brings a four game win streak into the contest between the only two Foothills Council girls teams with unblemished league records.

Following a convincing 61-37 victory over rival Scotia- Glenville on January 5, the Lady Rams held a two game advantage in the Foothills Council South division. Amsterdam began a three game road trip on January 9, that included games against tough Foothills North division opponents Hudson Falls and South Glens Falls, and wrapped up with a trip to Boston, MA at Emmanuel College and a showdown with defending Boston city champ and Massachusetts state runner up New Mission High School Lady Titans on January 14.

Amsterdam 50 Hudson Falls 45 (January 9 – at Hudson Falls High School)

Lady Rams senior guard Brady Santiago hit a key three point shot and converted a pair of free throws late in the fourth quarter to help the Lady Rams pull away from a tough Lady Tigers team. Santiago finished with 11 points including five of Amsterdam’s 16 foul shots. Nina Fedullo led the Lady Rams with 20 points including a pair of three point shots, and collected six rebounds. Giuliana Pritchard led Amsterdam on the defensive end bringing down 10 rebounds, and scored eight points. AHS point guard Lucia Liverio had another consistent game dishing out eight assists, and scored four points. Grace Catena added four points, Maria Lomanto had two points, and Taylor Flint scored on a free throw for the Lady Rams, who improved their Foothills Council record to 6-0. Naesha Kelley led Hudson Falls with 18 points, and Kierra McCarthy added 12 points.

Amsterdam 53 South Glens Falls 40 (January 12 – at South Glens Falls High School)

Lady Rams junior forward Giuliana Pritchard recorded her fifth “double-double” of the season scoring 13 points and gathering 12 rebounds leading Amsterdam over the Lady Bulldogs. Nina Fedullo also recorded a “double-double” with 12 points and 11 rebounds. During the game, Nina Fedullo moved into second place on the all time AHS basketball scoring list, passing Mike Sollecito (1,221 points) and finished the night with her career total at 1,230 points. Lady Rams senior Grace Catena scored 11 points including seven of Amsterdam’s 13 from the free throw line. Catena also came down with six defensive rebounds, and the trio of Catena, Nina Fedullo, and Pritchard helped the Lady Rams dominate under the boards. Maria Lomanto scored eight points including a pair of three point shots, Lucia Liverio added five points, and Taylor Flint scored for the third straight game adding four points, and giving the Lady Rams some consistency off the bench. Amsterdam led 22-17 at halftime, but held the Lady Bulldogs to only six points in a key third quarter. AHS outscored South Glens Falls 31-23 in the second half to improve to 7-0 in the Foothills Council and 9-1 overall. AHS also held SGF’s leading scorer Mackenzie Collier to a season low eight points. Mariah Buser led the Lady Bulldogs with 13 points.

Amsterdam 69 New Mission (MA) 52

The Lady Rams got a well balanced scoring effort with nine players getting in the books with at least two points. Nina Fedullo led the way with 21 points, including four of five from the free throw line. Giuliana Pritchard was next for Amsterdam scoring 13 points, with five of six from the line. As a team Amsterdam converted 13 of 19 foul shots. The Lady Rams tenth win of the season was bolstered by a 22 point first quarter effort that helped them take a 37-19 advantage into the locker rooms at halftime. Maria Lomanto gave AHS a third player in double digits with 12 points including a pair from three point range. Brady Santiago also counted a long distance three among her eight points for Amsterdam. Grace Catena and Gianna Derosa each had four points for the Lady Rams, Elena Fedullo scored three points, and Lucia Liverio and Taylor Flint contributed two points each. The Lady Titans made a game of it in the second half scoring 32 points over the third and fourth quarters to Amsterdam’s 33 points. Taneja Jones- Drayton led New Mission with 18 points.

During the four game win streak the Amsterdam Lady Rams scored an average of 58 points per game, and on defense averaged allowing only 44 points per game. Heading into Thursday’s game, Amsterdam (10-1) is one of only two New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Section 2, Class A teams ranked in the top 25 of the New York State Sportswriters Association (NYSSWA) poll. The latest poll released on January 17, had the Lady Rams holding the #21 spot in the Class A rankings just behind Averill Park (6-6). Meanwhile, Glens Falls (11-2) comes in at #9 among Class B schools.

Both Amsterdam and Glens Falls have been playing challenging schedules that have included Class AA Suburban Council opponents as well as teams from outside of Section 2. The Lady Rams started their season with a 53-34 victory over Niskayuna, and later defeated defending Section 3 Class AA champion Cicero- North Syracuse in their Amsterdam College Holiday Showcase in late December. More recently, the Lady Rams were victorious over Massachusetts state runner up New Mission, 69-52 on Saturday.

Glens Falls has also played teams from the Suburban Council and count a 55-43 late December win over Saratoga Springs in a tournament at the Glens Falls Civic Center among their achievements. The Lady Indians followed that win with a victory over small school perennial contender Lake George, 62-47, the next day. Glens Falls also owns a 42-39 win over Troy, and a win over Section 10’s Canton. The Lady Indians only losses this season have been to Suburban Council power Colonie. Both Glens Falls and Amsterdam bring 7-0 Foothills Council league records into Thursday’s contest.

Defense will once again be a factor in determining the outcome. The Lady Rams are giving up an average of only 41 points per game through their first 11 games this season, and have held four opponents to under 40 points. Glens Falls is also allowing opponents an average of under 50 points per game.

Meanwhile on the offensive side, Amsterdam is scoring better than 60 points per game, slightly better than the Lady Indians scoring average of 55 points per game.. The Lady Rams are led by senior Nina Fedullo who averages better than 18 points per game, and junior Giuliana Pritchard, who scores better than 12 points per game. Both Fedullo and Pritchard also average better than 10 rebounds per game, and each has recorded a “double-double” six times this season. Glens Falls counters with the Tougas sisters, Lucy, a senior point guard, and Sophie, a sophomore forward, who each average in double digits in scoring this season, and have led the Lady Indians in scoring the past two years.

Both teams have a strong supporting cast to compliment their leading scorers. Glens Falls relies on several talented guards who provide balanced scoring from beyond the arc including seniors Caitlin Hogan, Maggie Girard, Emilie Moses, and Laura Hendley, and freshman Sovereign Strickland. The Lady Indians will look to senior Emma Bayle, junior Taylor Scarincio, and sophomores Anna Bayle, and Felicity Williams at the forward position to help with the rebounding chores as well as get the ball close to the rim.

Amsterdam has been getting plenty of good minutes from their starters and bench throughout the season. Both senior guards Maria Lomanto and Brady Santiago average scoring close to 10 points per game and are a threat to score from beyond the three point arc. Santiago was a factor in last years’ Foothills Council title game at the Glens Falls Civic Center where she scored a career high 28 points and tied a school record with seven three point baskets. Amsterdam also returns junior Lucia Liverio at point guard. Liverio started the majority of the 2015-2016 season at the position and continues to improve, averaging more than five assists, and fewer turnovers per game. Senior Grace Catena has provided balance on the court at forward and guard where she has been a difference maker on offense and defense. Catena accounted for seven of AHS’ 13 free throws as part of her 11 points in a win over South Glens Falls, and led the Lady Rams with a career high 16 points in Amsterdam’s only loss to Simsbury (CT) in late December at the Holiday College Showcase. Amsterdam has also benefited getting good minutes from sophomore forward Elena Fedullo, juniors Taylor Flint and Gianna Derosa, and senior Janina Sjoberg.

Tip time for the varsity contest on Thursday night is scheduled for 7pm. Amsterdam will be back on the road next week with games at Niskayuna on Tuesday, and at Johnstown on Thursday, January 26.

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.