Lady Rams basketball battles through fouls to win against South Glens Falls

The Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity basketball team faced one of its toughest tests so far this season against a physical South Glens Falls team on Monday. In a game marked by an abundance of fouls, the contributions by the AHS bench complimented another strong performance on offense by the AHS starters, and was one of the deciding factors as the Lady Rams outlasted the Lady Bulldogs 68-55 at Amsterdam High School to remain unbeaten in the Foothills Council.

“Our bench has been working hard,” Amsterdam senior Lucia Liverio said. “We all trust each other and that’s a huge thing.”

The whistle blew often from the beginning of the game and several starters on both teams found themselves with two fouls by the end of the first quarter. Amsterdam’s Taylor Flint, Gianna Derosa, and Charlie Beekman saw plenty of time on the court but were not immune to fouls, and by the opening minutes of the third quarter, a revolving door of substitutions was in full swing for both teams.

Amsterdam led 32-23 at halftime, and the margin swelled to 14 after a 6-0 run by the Lady Rams keyed by a drive to the rim by Liverio and a pair of baskets by Giuliana Pritchard, who finished with a team high 26 points. The Lady Rams were up 45-31 before the Lady Bulldogs cut it back to nine at 45-36 getting five points from Mackenzie Collier, who had a game high 27 points. Flint and Beekman each scored four points during the next flurry of shots before the end of the period. Beekman’s quick move to the rim followed by Flint’s put back on a rebound gave AHS its largest lead of the game, 53-36. Those efforts couldn’t have come at a better time as South Glens Falls responded with an 7-0 run with six points recorded at the foul line. Both teams combined for 56 free throw attempts, 19 in the third quarter alone. That factor kept the Lady Bulldogs within striking distance of the lead.

“South Glens Falls is a scrappy team,” Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler said. “They made it an ugly game. It turned into a foul shooting contest. They made foul shots and we didn’t make that many.”

Overall, South Glens Falls was 21 for 32 from the charity stripe, Amsterdam went 14 for 24, but the key foul shots were made by the Lady Rams. Beekman buried both her free throws in the closing seconds of the third quarter, and Jackie Stanavich netted both of her shots early in the fourth extending the AHS lead back fourteen, 57-43.

“I guess we found a way to get through and get the win,” Coach Duemler said. “Credit to our offensive rebounding. We attacked the rim.”

Stanavich took a pass off a steal by fellow freshman Antonia May to the basket for two of her 11 points, and after a basket by Lady Bulldogs’ Jordan Palmer, Pritchard gathered in another offensive rebound against an aggressive South Glens Falls team that led to a conversation between the officials and Lady Bulldogs coach Mark Girard, resulting in a technical foul.

Pritchard made one of two from the line and on the next AHS trip down the floor connected for her first three point shot of the season with less than three minutes remaining and deflated any further South Glens Falls comeback attempts. Pritchard exited the game after making a free throw with 1:39 left to play. The AHS senior earned her third “double-double” of the season with 13 rebounds, most on the offensive side, to accompany her 26 points.

“Giuliana Pritchard is our leader,” Coach Duemler said. “She will also be the first to admit we didn’t play as well as we could have defensively. We have to play better defensively. We can’t have teams taking thirty foul shots per game and expect to win. We have to work together on defense and that starts with talking.”

Amsterdam never trailed in the game and it was mostly due to the offense working together and executing despite all the fouls. Pritchard scored eight points in the first quarter, and Stanavich had three helping push the Lady Rams to a 14-9 lead after eight minutes of play. Pritchard owned the interior of the court throughout the game, and teamed up with Lucia Liverio to score 15 of the Lady Rams 18 points in the second period. A three point shot by Lady Bulldogs’ Ally Buser sliced the lead to 16-14, but Pritchard and Liverio answered with a basket apiece boosting it back to six points. A pull up jumper by Collier peeled it back to four again, but May answered for AHS with her first of two triples igniting a six point burst by AHS that included a three point play by Liverio keyed by a Pritchard steal. Collier retaliated with a pair of free throws and her only three of the game to cut the lead back to four again at 26-22, but Liverio matched her opponent with a three, and Pritchard notched a free throw, and put back another shot keeping AHS in charge at the half.

The Lady Rams hustle on offense and ability to get to the rim helped them succeed in spite of their defensive shortcomings. During the opening minutes of the third quarter, Antonia May saved a play headed out of bounds underneath the South Glens Falls basket and then hustled down the floor to convert it into three points on a corner jump shot. May’s teammate junior Elena Fedullo also helped keep the score in Amsterdam’s favor with an offensive rebound maintaining a double digit Lady Rams lead at 37-27. Defensively, May had the task of guarding both SGFHS’ top scorers Collier and Buser when Amsterdam ran their man to man and zone schemes. Earlier in the season May had the task of defensing Gloversville’s Harmony Philo and denied her shot opportunities.

“I like Antonia’s (May) length in defensive situations,” Coach Duemler said. “She has high hands and can take away shots. She was guarding Ally Buser tonight in man-to-man, and it’s something we’re testing her on defense. It’s a position she can play.”

May scored six points for the game, Liverio totaled 10 poimts, Fedullo scored five points and added five rebounds, Beekman and Flint each had four points, and Gianna Derosa scored two points. Stanavich added nine rebounds to her totals for Amsterdam (4-0).

Buser scored 10 points for the Lady Bulldogs followed by Emma Bovair who scored seven, all in the second half. Palmer scored four points, Zoe Lanfear and Hannah Breen added three points apiece, and Celyna Shaw scored one point and brought down five rebounds for South Glens Falls.

The Lady Rams will get little rest as they prepare for their next opponent, defending Foothills Council champion Glens Falls. Amsterdam will host the Lady Indians on Thursday with the varsity tip off scheduled for 7pm.

AHS junior varsity victorious 47-39

Kayli Hoefs scored a game high 17 points to lead the AHS junior varsity squad. South Glens Falls tied the score at 39-39, but the Lady Rams scored the last eight points and played solid defense. Mianna Jackson scored the go ahead basket and added one more during the final minutes giving her six points for the game. A pair of blocked shots and steals by freshman Andie Gannon keyed the AHS defense. Steals by eighth grader Sydney Hoefs and freshman Natalie Flint turned into baskets sealing the win for a Lady Rams junior varsity that is also undefeated in the Foothills Council. Gannon finished with 10 points, Yariana Toro had six points, and Grace Patrei scored two for Amsterdam. South Glens Falls was led by Sydney Hart’s 10 points.

Authors Notes: With her 26 points on Monday, Giuliana Pritchard passed both Sue Blazejewski (774 points), and Kerry Ochal (792 points) on the Amsterdam High School girls basketball all time scoring list. At 795 points for her career, Pritchard is only five points away from becoming only the fifth Lady Ram in school history to score 800 points.

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.