Lady Rams take a step closer to division crown with win over Johnstown

“Tonight was about learning to trust each other,” Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler said. “Everyone played hard. When we learn to trust each other, the better we will be.”

Friday night, the Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity basketball team showed how much they had learned about trust in a 68-33 victory over the Johnstown Lady Bills at Johnstown High School and in the process took a step closer to another Foothills Council South division title.

Friday’s key division match marked the seventh time this season that all ten players on the Lady Rams roster contributed at least one point or one rebound. It was also featured another definition of teamwork that led to the sixth time this season that both Nina Fedullo and Giuliana Pritchard recorded a “double-double” in the same game. Fedullo finished with a game high 22 points and 15 rebounds, while Pritchard complimented that with 18 points and 12 boards.

“Our communication was great tonight,” Pritchard said. “Everyone contributed and we did what we needed to do.”

Amsterdam scored the first six points of the game with Elena Fedullo, Nina Fedullo and Pritchard finding the bottom of the net in the game’s first minute and a half. After a free throw by Claire Guzielek and a lay up by Chelsea Cirillo cut the lead in half, Maria Lomanto was the fourth different Lady Ram to score boosting the lead to 8-3. Lomanto’s put back ignited an 8-0 Amsterdam run that put the Lady Rams in front to stay. Mallory Baldwin stopped the run with a lay up followed by a three by Jess VanNostrand to cut the advantage to 14-8, but the Lady Bills would get no closer than that. Brady Santiago made it five Lady Rams to score in the quarter with a jump shot to put the lead back to eight, and as the seconds faded away in the opening period Gianna Derosa made it six different Lady Rams to score with a drive to the rim. Amsterdam led 20-12 after one with Nina Fedullo and Pritchard netting 12 of the total. The Lady Rams continued that intensity into the second quarter.

Grace Catena scored the first of her ten points on an offensive rebound to put the number at seven AHS players to get into the scoring column. Santiago tipped away a pass intended for a Lady Bill cutting to the basket and Nina Fedullo scored in transition to make it 24-12 AHS. Amsterdam opened the second frame on another eight point run with Nina Fedullo taking an assist from Derosa, and Catena taking one from Lucia Liverio, who assisted on a follow up score by Elena Fedullo. Liverio made it three assists on three consecutive AHS possessions when she passed the ball back out to Pritchard at the top of the key, who then drilled a thee point shot for a 33-17 margin. Guzielek, who led the Lady Bills with 11 points scored the last three of the half as AHS took a 35-20 lead into the locker rooms. A key factor to the AHS lead was that they gathered in more rebounds than the Lady Bills on both the offensive and defensive end. Amsterdam had a 24-10 edge under the boards in the first half and finished the contest with a team total 50 rebounds.

“We controlled the boards,” Coach Duemler said. “We kept them from getting second and third chance shots and that led to transition baskets for us, and we converted our shots. Johnstown had some good looks at the basket but they didn’t go in.”

Amsterdam did more work in transition to open the second half credited primarily to its “tips and deflections” defense. Lomanto, Nina Fedullo, and Liverio came away with steals, and when Liverio converted a pair of free throws into a 37-20 Lady Rams lead, eight AHS players had scored.

“Before each game we say it: defense wins games, defense wins championships, the offense will come,” Nina Fedullo said. “I can’t complain about the defense, it was good tonight.”

Fedullo and Pritchard scored 13 of the Lady Rams 17 points in the third quarter to put the finishing touches on their “double-double” performances and helped Amsterdam open up a 52-29 lead heading to the fourth quarter. The Lady Rams bench took its turn with both Taylor Flint and Janina Sjoberg collecting rebounds. Catena scored four points in the final period to give AHS three players scoring in double digits. Catena is also approaching a milestone. After Friday’s game, she is only 13 points shy of scoring 100 points for the season. When she reaches that mark it will mark the second straight season that the Lady Rams have had five players score 100 or more points. Amsterdam finished the game the same way they had started it, with five different players scoring. Nina Fedullo and Pritchard returned to the floor with Pritchard showing she had recovered from an illness that kept her out of the Glens Falls game, scoring six more points.

“It was one of her better games,” Duemler said of Pritchard. “She really attacked the basket well tonight.”

Pritchard scored 11 of her 18 points in the second half, helping Amsterdam outscore Johnstown 33-13 over the final two periods. Only a week ago she had to watch her teammates warm up in the AHS gym before the game against Glens Falls. And, while Pritchard could have played she was not near one hundred percent recovered from an illness that afflicted her since the team had returned from a trip to Boston.

“Safety is our preference over playing,” Coach Duemler said following the Glens Falls game.

“I think sitting out the Glens Falls game was the best thing I could have done,” Pritchard said. “If I had played it could have set me back. We’ll have another opportunity to play them. It was the smart thing for me to do.”

Pritchard was referring to the likelihood that the Lady Rams may meet Glens Falls in the Foothills Council title game when the regular season concludes in less than three weeks. Glens Falls is the only undefeated Foothills Council team and could wrap up the North division by the end of next week. Amsterdam can also claim the South division title in that time frame with wins over Gloversville and Scotia-Glenville.

“We have Gloversville, Niskayuna, and Scotia-Glenville coming up next week,” Coach Duemler said. “Three dangerous teams, and we will take it one game at a time. These teams always play us hard, so we have to stay healthy and stay focused.”

Grace Catena’s 10 points and seven rebounds were next on the charts after Nina Fedullo and Pritchard. Maria Lomanto contributed six points, Brady Santiago and Elena Fedullo each had four points with Fedullo adding five rebounds. Point guards Lucia Liverio and Gianna Derosa each had two points, and teamed up for seven assists. Taylor Flint added two rebounds and Janina Sjoberg gathered in three rebounds for Amsterdam (12-2 overall, 8-1 Foothills Council).

The Lady Bills also had a good team effort as every member of their ten player roster either scored or came away with a rebound. Claire Guzielek added six rebounds to her team high 11 points. Anna Lee was next with five points followed by Kanako Sasaki with four, Jess VanNostrand and Abby Vanderwalker each with three points, Chelsea Cirillo, Abby Gottung, and Mallory Baldwin each had two points, Alison Morey scored one point, and Jordan Rose had one rebound for Johnstown as both teams had everyone contribute.

Amsterdam returns home to face Gloversville at 7pm on Monday following a two-game road trip that took them to Rome, NY to face Section 3’s Rome Free Academy last Saturday. During the 79-37 win, all ten players on the Amsterdam roster scored with Nina Fedullo leading the way with 24 points. Fedullo, a senior, now has over 1,300 points for her career. Pritchard returned with 11 points. Maria Lomanto scored 12 points on four- three point baskets, and Brady Santiago scored nine points including two triples. Both Lomanto and Santiago reached the 100 point mark for the season joining Nina Fedullo and Pritchard. Grace Catena added seven points as did Janina Sjoberg, a career high for the senior from Finland. Elena Fedullo added four points to the cause. Gianna Derosa scored two points as did Lucia Liverio, who had a season high nine assists. Taylor Flint scored on a free throw making it six straight games that the junior, first year varsity player scored coming off the bench. Amsterdam’s 79 points was a season high as was its eight – three point makes. Sarah Crockett led RFA with 12 points. The game also served as a benefit hosted by Rome Free Academy to raise funds for eight month old Mya Corigliano, who was diagnosed with leukemia and is recovering from a bone marrow transplant donated by her sister Lydia.

Amsterdam JV win a pair of Foothills games

The Amsterdam Lady Rams junior varsity team picked up a pair of Foothills Council wins with victories over Glens Falls and Johnstown. The Lady Rams JV defeated Glens Falls 49-38 last Thursday, and topped Johnstown 51-35 on Friday.

Yariana Toro led Amsterdam with 14 points in the win over Glens Falls with eighth grader Antonia May complimenting that total with 13 points. Sophomore guard Mady Carmona added four points, and Jareymarie Aponte, Francesca Derosa, Emma Gomez, Megan Lamont, Lillian Orengo, Grace Patrei, and Sydney Szczepanik each had two points in the win. Glens Falls was led by Lexi Cutter’s 16 points.

The Lady Rams JV put 11 of its 15 members in the scoring column in their win over the Lady Bills JV. Antonia May led the way with 11 points. Mady Carmona came through with eight points, Grace Patrei and Yarlyn Toro each had six points, Jareymarie Aponte, Emma Gomez, and Francesca Derosa all had four points, and Madison Wojcik, Syndey Szczepanik, Kayli Hoefs, and Lillian Orengo each had two points. Megan Lamont, Emily Schaufelberg, Yariana Toro, and Deliana Figueroa each had a rebound or an assist.

Amsterdam will make up a previously postponed game at Niskayuna on Tuesday followed by the road trip to Scotia- Glenville on Thursday. Victories over Gloversville and Scotia- Glenville next week will give the Lady Rams their third straight Foothills Council South division title and secure a place in the league championship game.

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.