Pritchard jumps to second place all-time AHS girls scorer during win against Johnstown

Giuliana Pritchard scored 40 points Thursday night, leading the AHS varsity girls basketball team to victory over Johnstown, 76-56 at Amsterdam High School. Pritchard scored 27 points in the first half as Amsterdam built a 44-26 lead at the break. Her final points of the half came on a three point shot from the top of the key, giving her a career total 969 points, enough to move past Amy Jo Stewart (954 points) into second place on the Lady Rams career basketball scoring list, trailing only former teammate Nina Fedullo (1500 points). Pritchard’s game was also only one point away from matching a one-game scoring record set by Stewart back in 1988.

“I didn’t know,” said Pritchard when told about her total. “I knew my teammates were helping me by passing me the ball. I couldn’t have done it without them. Everything came together and we just played together as a team.”

All ten players got playing time on the court, and eight of them scored. Amsterdam was tested early by the Lady Bills, who broke out to a 5-1 lead in the first quarter keyed by a three point basket by Jesse Van Nostrand. But, just like Monday’s game against Broadalbin-Perth, it was Pritchard who took charge on offense. A running hook shot got Amsterdam close, and a put back knotted things up at 5-5. Johnstown’s Anna Lee made a free throw giving the lead back to the Lady Bills, who hustled under the boards and actually out-rebounded AHS in the first quarter. They also drew more fouls, but only made half of their free throws. Pritchard tied it up at 6- 6 before Johnstown took its last lead on put back by Lee. Pritchard intercepted a pass and fed Jackie Stanavich for two, and moments later assisted on another score by the freshman giving Amsterdam the lead for good. Antonia May’s steal at mid-court gave the Lady Rams a 12-8 advantage helping to negate the early rebounding edge by the Lady Bills. Pritchard scored the last eight AHS points of the opening quarter including a strong put back of her own miss that made the score 16-11. The Rams were up 20- 14 after one, and Pritchard was just getting started.

“She scores so many different ways,” Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler said. “Sometimes so subtly you don’t even realize it. Now that she’s making foul shots, that adds up. It’s unbelievable. Nina (Fedullo) was a prolific scorer, but she didn’t go on a scoring run like this. It’s all hard work, effort, and unselfish play. Giulinana is so strong, once she gets the ball there’s no taking it from her.”

Amsterdam cut back on he fouls and began pulling away in the second quarter. Gianna DeRosa got things started on a drive past the JHS defense to the rim for two. Pritchard then showed plenty of consistency scoring the next eight AHS points, recording six from the foul line. Elena Fedullo took a pass through the middle of the Lady Bills defense and in for two more putting AHS up 32-18. Both Fedullo and Taylor Flint scored to pad the lead to 36-19 as Amsterdam outscored Johnstown 16-6 in the early stages of the second period. The Lady Bills then went on a mini five point run getting points from Lee, VanNostrand, and eighth grader Jaden Wilson, who led the Lady Bills with 16 points, to cut the mark to 36-24, but Amsterdam responded with a run of its own started by Lucia Liverio, continued by Charli Beekman, and capped by Pritchard’s three. The Lady Rams were up 44-26 at halftime. Eight Amsterdam players had found the bottom of the net by the break.

“How well we play together as a team really showed tonight,” Pritchard said. “We’re very unselfish and work well together.”

After building an 18 point lead, the Lady Rams continued to play strong rotating in its reserves to get everyone some much needed playing time. Both Madison Carmona and Kim Lopez got in the game to help the Lady Rams cause. Pritchard scored the first six points for the Lady Rams, and along with a pair of baskets by Liverio guided AHS on a 12- 2 run to open the second half. After turning an offensive rebound into two more for a 56-28 AHS lead, Pritchard went to the bench with 35 points through three quarters. When she returned to start the fourth quarter, Pritchard quickly turned a steal into a three point play boosting the AHS margin to 64-40, and inched closer to the 40 point mark. The Lady Bills played a tighter second half getting scores from Lee (13 points), Wilson (16 points), and Amber Tesi (12 points), who all scored in double digits. Pritchard’s final score came in the middle of a nine point AHS outburst that included points from Fedullo, Liverio, and May keeping the Lady Rams comfortably in front at 74-47. Shortly after Pritchard went to the bench an announcement was made that Pritchard was now second on the all time scoring list. Pritchard had passed Brittany Stahura during Tuesday’s win at Schuylerville, and passed Stewart on Thursday.

“I always looked up to those girls,” said Pritchard of the AHS alumni. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, and we will we use these games to get back in form so that we can showcase that next week.”

Amsterdam (10-1, 9-1 Foothills) has a tough road trip coming up beginning Monday when they travel to Scotia-Glenville for their first game of the season with the Lady Tartans. The Lady Rams continue their road trip with games at South Glens Falls next Thursday, and at Glens Falls on Monday, January 29. Amsterdam moved into sole possession of first place in the Foothills Council as a result of Scotia- Glenville’s loss to Gloversville on Thursday.

“We’re just trying to get better,” Coach Duemler said. “Our focus is on Scotia-Glenville. It’s a tough stretch, but we will find a way each game. Whether it’s with our press, or transition game, or free throws, we’ll find a way each game.”

Pritchard finished the night with a “double-double” adding 16 rebounds, five steals, and four assists. Liverio scored seven points, Stanavich and Fedullo scored six points apiece, Flint added five points, and May, DeRosa, and Beekman chipped in with four points each.

Jess VanNostrand scored seven points for the Lady Bills. Alison Morey added five points, and Meghan Mraz scored three points. Abby VandeWalker brought down five rebounds for Johnstown.

Authors Notes:

Midway through the fourth quarter, applause rang out when Pritchard moved past a trio of Johnstown defenders on her way to the rim for a lay up and her final points of the night. Family and friends had talked at halftime about her possibly reaching 40 points, and no one could come up with any other Lady Rams player to score that many. Even the Section 2 record book doesn’t have a listing for another 40 point night by an AHS girls player. However, after the game, we found that in the AHS sports trophy case was Amy Jo Stewart’s basketball from her record setting season that reads “Amy Jo Stewart: 41 points vs. Stillwater, February 11, 1988.” It’s a shame that this record isn’t officially recorded by Section 2, and I wonder why that is.

Besides the single game and career scoring records, there’s also a season scoring record to keep an eye on. Over the last three games, Giuliana Pritchard has scored 96 points, averaging better than 30 per game. Personally, I can’t recall anyone going on a three-game scoring tear like that in recent years. Her forty-point night put her at over 250 points this season, and the Lady Rams have at least ten more games yet to play. The current single season school record is Nina Fedullo’s 445 points set in 2015-2016.

But records aside, Pritchard and her teammates understand the bigger picture. All the records are just that, records, if at the end of the last game you’re not the last team standing. There are a lot of talented teams in the Class A field this year including a relentless Averill Park team that has defeated both Shaker and Colonie on its way to the best record in the Suburban Council and a No. 3 state ranking. The Lady Rams will need more of that unselfish play and know they have to depend on each other if they are to win the elusive first AHS girls sports teams’ Section 2 title.

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.