Running Rams basketball pick up second straight win, defeat South Glens Falls

Never judge a team by its record. The Amsterdam Running Rams varsity basketball team learned that Friday night. Amsterdam faced off against the one-win South Gens Falls Bulldogs and needed a more active defense during a second half surge to pick up another Foothills Council win, 83-62 at Amsterdam High School.

Amsterdam had its hands full with a South Glens Falls squad that played like anything but a one win team. The Bulldogs actually led late in the second quarter 26-23 after a three point shot by Lucas Anastasia, but the Rams rallied behind the play of seniors Devon Valentin and Louis Fedullo.

Trailing 26-25 with just over two minutes left in the first half, Valentin got his hands on an errant Bulldogs pass at mid-court and headed to the basket. Valentin’s shot rolled off the back of the rim, but Fedullo was there to put it back up. Fouled on the play, Fedullo sank both free throws giving Amsterdam a lead it would never give back. Fedullo’s play was consistent throughout the game and the Rams forward finished with a double-double, 16 points, and 10 rebounds.

“Louis (Fedullo) played well,” Amsterdam coach Tim Jones said. “He was active on all ends and did a nice job.”

Fedullo wasn’t done providing the consistency and energy his team needed. And, he had plenty of help from Valentin, who came up with another steal on the Bulldogs next possession and fed Robbie Spagnola, boosting the AHS lead to 29-26. Anthony Aponte contributed two of his game-high 21 points on the next AHS trip down the floor, and Fedullo again won the battle of the boards moments later by beating the buzzer on a put back of an Aponte long range miss. Amsterdam closed the half on a 10-0 run to go up by seven, 33-26.

“I’m always going out there to try and box them out,” Fedullo said. “I just went out there to get the ball.”

Amsterdam started the second half the same way it ended the first. Spagnola connected from three point range giving AHS its biggest lead at 36-26. Ben Uline answered for South Glens Falls with a triple as the Bulldogs continued to fight hard. Aponte and Fedullo traded baskets with Ben Wilson and SGF’s leading scorer Sam Maziejka, who led the Bulldogs with 16 points, but after steals by Sagnola and Ozzie DeJesus pushed the lead to double digits, Amsterdam began to pull away. The Bulldogs would get no closer than nine points. A three by Uline made it 49- 40, and later a jump shot made it 51-42, but AHS finished the third period on another run getting scores by Dale Stanavich and Aponte, the last two points courtesy of another Valentin steal to go up 60-45 headed to the fourth quarter.

“I’ve been practicing and working hard,” Valentin said. “I knew I had to be all energy coming off the bench. I just wanted to get some steals.”

Creating turnovers and turning them into points made a difference in the game. The ball was batted around several times in the first three periods with the Rams winning most of lost ball situations.

“That’s what we talked about,” Coach Jones said. “Can we get our hands on the ball and deflect it. Good teams don’t break down defensively.”

Amsterdam started the fourth quarter on yet another run getting a pair of baskets by Aponte opening up a 64-45 lead before a pair of free throws by Uline broke the string. Continuing momentum from one quarter to the next helped the Rams pull away from a determined opponent.

“If we were able to get those runs we knew that we would be alright,” Coach Jones said. “We need to be more efficient in the half court.”

Amsterdam was able to get everyone into the game in the fourth quarter. Jahleel Muhammed scored two points and hauled in a pair of rebounds during his first minutes on the floor in an AHS varsity uniform. Antonio Smith scored five points for the Rams in the fourth quarter, Mikey Gomez scored two points, Nico Orengo had a pair of boards, and Jaden Fallen contributed one assist for Amsterdam.

Robbie Spagnola followed Aponte on the scoring charts for the Rams with 17 points and three rebounds. Trey Holloway contributed eight points including a pair of three point shots. DeJesus scored five points, Stanavich scored four points, and William Brown had two points. Tristan Green helped AHS with a steal and a rebound.

Lucas Anastasia and Joe Endieveri each scored eight points for the Bulldogs. Ben Wilson contributed seven points, Zack Nolan scored six points, Uline, and Tyler Ward each had five points, Nate Baldwin scored four points, Riley Keenan had two points, and Cameron Becerril had one point for South Glens Falls. Maziejka led the Bulldogs with five rebounds. Endieveri, Nolan and Uline each had four rebounds.

Amsterdam (7-5 overall, 6-1 Foothills Council), returns to action on Friday, January 20 with a road trip to Glens Falls High School. The Indians defeated AHS at a late December tournament at the Glens Falls Civic Center. The Rams know a little more about what to expect the second time around.

“We’ll come back stronger,” Fedullo said. “We’ll be prepared.”

The Rams next home game is Friday, January 27 against division rival Johnstown. Tip time for the varsity contest is scheduled for 7:30pm.

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.