Amsterdam Xplosion captures summer basketball league title

The future of the Amsterdam girls basketball program was in action Thursday night at the Schenectady YMCA. Jackie Stanavich scored 15 points and Giuliana Pritchard scored 12 points leading the Amsterdam Xplosion to a 51-38 victory over Schalmont in the 2017 Schenectady YMCA Summer Basketball League girls varsity division championship game.

Stanavich, an eighth grader tallied 11 of her point total in the first half helping the Xplosion take a 24-11 lead. Pritchard, who enters her senior year at Amsterdam High School as a captain of the girls varsity basketball team, scored most of her total in the second half helping Amsterdam pull away in the closing minutes.

Schalmont trailed 44-29 with just under five minutes left in the game, but rallied using the three point shot, getting the first from Madison Graber, who led Schalmont with 16 points, and then the next two from Peyton Graber cutting the margin to six, 44-38. Amsterdam’s smooth flowing offense went back to work once again combining youth with veteran leadership to end the rally and score the last seven points of the game.

Amsterdam point guard Lucia Liverio, who starts in the same position on the AHS varsity team, found Stanavich under the basket for an easy two points starting the final run. Moments later, Pritchard hauled in a key defensive rebound with 1:25 left to play. Elena Fedullo, an incoming junior in her second season on the AHS varsity netted the first of two free throws for a 47-38 lead, Pritchard boxed out and took charge of the rebound on the miss of the second shot and put it back up for two more. Stanavich gathered in the next defensive board, followed by a pair of free throws by Taylor Flint for the final margin.

“It’s a good mix,” Amsterdam Xplosion coach Eric Duemler said. “It’s a good mix of youth and seniors. We have five eighth graders on this team.”

Stanavich scored the first six points for Amsterdam stopping an early run set by Madison Graber. Following a three point basket by Schalmont’s Paige Brinkman, another Amsterdam eighth grader, Antonia May, who earned her first varsity experience in 2017, drilled a three point goal of her own to knot the score at 9-9. Stanavich then responded with a five point run giving Amsterdam the lead for good. Taylor Flint added a pair of free throws stretching the lead to seven before Brinkman cut it back to five with a jump shot. May started another Xplosion run with her second three, and the Amsterdam front court of Pritchard and Elena Fedullo added the last five points prior to the half.

Schalmont played admirably with only six players suiting up for the game. An early injury to Abby Shaffer kept her on the bench for much of the contest, and Madison Graber had to sit briefly in the first half after hurting an eye after battling for a rebound. Madison Graber returned and led the Schalmont comeback answering every Amsterdam shot in the second half and starting the late rally before the Xplosion put the game away.

Peyton Graber scored nine points for Schalmont, Haley Burchardt was next with six points followed by Brinkman with five points and Eden Messimer with two points.

Antonia May scored 11 points for Amsterdam including three triples. Taylor Flint and Elena Fedullo each had four points, Madison Wojcik scored three points, and Mady Carmona had two for the Xplosion. Missing from the points column were Amsterdam point guards Lucia Liverio and Gianna Derosa, but with all the scoring options, the two of them dished out plenty of assists throughout the game. Eighth grader Mianna Jackson contributed two rebounds.

The Amsterdam Xplosion completed a 16-4 record in spring/summer AAU basketball and won two tournaments, Pound the Rock, and Mohawk Valley Shootout Classic 2, as a 16-Under girls team. Amsterdam finished the Schenectady YMCA summer league with a 9-1 record.

Also competing for the Xplosion were eighth graders Sydney Szczepanik and Charley Beekman.

When asked if the future of the Amsterdam girls basketball program looked bright, Coach Duemler responded, “Absolutely.”

Amsterdam High School – girls varsity basketball scoring leaders (career)

Nina Fedullo (Class of 2017) – 1500 points

Amy Jo Stewart (1988) – 954

Brittany Stahura (2008) – 921

Kerry Ochal (1994) – 792

Sue Blazejewski (1983) – 774

Giuliana Pritchard (2018) – 714 *active

Liz Hildreth (1994) – 651

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.