During her five-year varsity career, Amsterdam’s Giuliana Pritchard has shown there are many different ways to get to the basket. Tuesday night, her team needed all of them as the Lady Rams senior netted a remarkable 35 points and gathered 20 rebounds in Amsterdam’s 69- 57 victory over the Schenectady Lady Patriots at Amsterdam High School.
“Her footwork has improved,” Amsterdam Coach Eric Duemler said of Pritchard. “Her inner drive, inner strength, and footwork have improved. She knows how to get herself open shots.”
Pritchard posted her fourteenth “double- double” of the season, and it was the first game where she scored at least twenty points and brought in at least twenty rebounds. By the end of the first quarter Pritchard scored her 400th point of the season, becoming only the third Lady Rams player to accomplish the feat, and finished the game with her season total at 430, only 16 points shy of a new school record. The Lady Rams needed every one of Pritchard’s scores especially early on when Schenectady came out strong.
Schenectady’s Jeonna Anderson scored the first seven points of the game, taking the ball to the basket as the Lady Patriots used their athleticism to work their way through the AHS defense. Pritchard answered the bell for the Lady Rams scoring the next seven against Schenectady’s front court of Anderson (5’11”), Arayanna Young (6′ 2”), Wuadira Williams, (6′ 2”), and Vash Sturdivent 5′ 10”). Pritchard ‘s footwork included an under-handed shot, a pull up jump shot, and three free throws to knot things up at 7-7. Pritchard’s front court teammate Elena Fedullo put the finishing touches on a 11-0 Lady Rams run with a turnaround jump shot under the rim, and took a pass from Pritchard on a back door cut giving Amsterdam the lead, and one they would not relinquish.
“We came out flat,” Coach Duemler said. “That’s understandable after the big game we had last night. But, we had enough energy to get through the game.”
Anderson scored eleven of the Lady Patriots 13 first quarter points. Pritchard had nine of the Lady Rams 18 opening period scores, with Fedullo and freshman Charli Beekman getting on the board for AHS before the initial eight minutes were done. The Lady Rams kept working on offense in the second quarter and employed their “one- three-one” zone defense that again presented problems for their opponent.
With Antonia May’s arm length at the top of the zone, Fedullo’s height at the base, and the quickness of Pritchard, Lucia Liverio, and Jackie Stanavich in the middle, the Lady Rams defensive alignment forced turnovers, created scoring chances, and in the process drew fouls on the Lady Patriots tallest players eventually sending their top scorer Anderson to the bench. Pritchard netted seven points in the second quarter, five from the free throw line, Stanavich netted four from the stripe, and Taylor Flint got things going with a three-point shot helping Amsterdam outscore Schenectady 14-5 in the period leading to a 32-18 advantage at halftime.
“It’s one of our base defenses,” Coach Duemler said. “We got some stops on it.”
Amsterdam switched to a “two-three” zone in the third quarter and maintained its lead. Anderson cut into that lead with a lay up, but Pritchard responded by taking a pass from Liverio to the rim for two of her game high total. The second half started in similar fashion to the first with Anderson and Pritchard doing most of the scoring initially, but by the midway point their teammates picked up the scoring.
Pritchard got to the rim for two more providing AHS with its largest lead at 37-22. May took the ball away on the next Lady Patriots trip down the floor and Fedullo was fouled on her next try leading to a pair of free throws and a 39-22 lead. Young took over the scoring mantle for Schenectady and recorded six points in the third period, her first two cut it back to a 15 point AHS lead, and her last coming in front of a three-point shot by May. Seven Lady Rams got in the scoring column including Pritchard, Fedullo, Liverio, Stanavich, May, Beekman, and Gianna DeRosa as AHS outscored Schenectady 24-18 in the third, and held a seemingly comfortable 20 point lead heading to the last quarter.
The Lady Rams starting five earned a much needed break on the bench, and had played significant minutes while playing four games in six days. However, Schenectady wasn’t done yet and staged a comeback going on a 11-0 run in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, slicing the AHS lead to single digits, 56-47. Young scored five points, and Neseyah Dix scored six during the run.
“Schenectady presented issues for us with their athleticism and length,” Coach Duemler said. “They’re a big team.”
Amsterdam’s starting five of Pritchard, Liverio, Fedullo, May, and Stanavich returned to the floor and fought off the challenge with Pritchard and Stanavich adding to their totals before the clock ran down and the Lady Rams subs returned to the floor with two minutes to play, finishing out the game.
Stanavich earned her third straight “double-double” with ten points and ten rebounds for the Lady Rams. Fedullo collected seven points and four rebounds, Beekman finished with six points, DeRosa had four points, May and Flint each had three points, and Liverio added one point for Amsterdam (16-2, 14-2 Foothills Council).
Anderson’s 21 points was a team high for Schenectady. Dix was next with 18 points, Young was third Lady Patriots player in double digits with 13 points, and Brooklynn Dixon added five points for Schenectady. Williams, Sturdivent, and Yasmine Jakson all contributed rebounds.
The Lady Rams have two games remaining on their 2017-2018 schedule, both Foothills Council contests beginning with Thursday night’s meeting with Queensbury. The Lady Spartans at 12-4 are currently fourth in the Foothills Council standings and provide another challenge for Amsterdam with a group of three-point sharpshooters including Hope Sullivan, Aberlyn Doin, and Meghan O’Connor.
“We have to bring our A game on Thursday,” Coach Duemler said. “It’s very competitive among the top five in Class A.”
Should the Lady Rams win their final two league games it will help their case when it comes to the seeds for the Section 2 playoffs. Suburban Council leader Averill Park (15-2), and Colonial Council’s Academy of Holy Names (18-1) are among the contenders for the top two seeds in Class A. Amsterdam and Scotia-Glenville are also ranked in the top 25 according to the NYSSWA rankings. The Lady Rams own the tie breaker with Scotia- Glenville. Amsterdam defeated South Glens Falls twice this season, and Scotia- Glenville dropped a 46-40 decision to the Lady Bulldogs earlier this year. Scotia-Gleville and South Glens Falls also meet again on Thursday. Amsterdam’s final league game before sectionals will be their senior night game on Monday against Schuylerville.