Lady Rams basketball wins battle for first in Foothills

Jackie Stanavich and Antonia May teamed up to lead a fourth quarter rally past the Scotia-Glenville Lady Tartans 56-49 at Amsterdam High School on Monday night, putting AHS alone atop the Foothills Council standings.

Scotia-Glenville had the first rally of the game after trailing Amsterdam by five, 28-23 at halftime. Mary Kate Palleschi, Rhami Porter, and Kelsey Brown all netted four points each helping the Lady Tartans outscore Amsterdam 16 to 11 in the third quarter. The well-balanced effort that featured five SGHS players putting up points knotted the game at 39-39 at the close of the third period. Lady Rams senior Giuliana Pritchard kept her team in the game scoring nine of a game high 22 points in the quarter.

On the Lady Rams first possession of the fourth quarter, May passed the ball to Pritchard who stepped out near the top of the key. Without hesitation, May cut to the basket where Pritchard connected with her on a pass that led to a 41-39 AHS lead. The “give and go” play was a perfect example of the motion-style offense the Lady Rams have used since the opening tip, and one that Scotia-Glenville had to try to defend.

“We knew we would have a chance with a ‘five out motion’, “ Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler said. “It’s hard to defend when you can get to the rim.”

May’s gave the team a boost of confidence when she was left alone along the baseline and beyond the three-point arc. As the Lady Tartans tried to account for Amsterdam’s motion offense, they left gaps for sharpshooters like May to take advantage. The Lady Rams leader in three-point field goals didn’t hesitate, and rained down a triple putting AHS up by five again, 44-39.

Stanavich was next to pick up the scoring touch on a similar motion style, “back door cut” to the rim on a pass from Pritchard keeping AHS ahead by five. Moments later, Stanavich used another element of the Lady Rams game that had been effective all night to tip the ball away from SGHS point guard Mikayla Mitchell and drive in for a lay up increasing the lead to seven.

“We’re always looking for deflections,” Coach Duemler said. “Using our length can lead to deflections and to us getting out in transition and getting to the basket.”

Asia Winney, who led Scotia- Glenville with 15 points, connected on her final three-point goal of the game to cut the margin to four 48-44, but Pritchard and Stanavich teamed up again with a steal by the senior and a lay up by the freshman. Amsterdam’s ‘one- three-one’ zone defense had had an impact on the Lady Tartans offense for the entire game and forced yet another turnover that led to baseline turnaround jumper by Stanavich, a 51-44 lead, and a Scotia- Glenville time out with 3:44 left to play.

“We have great length and anticipatory skills,” Coach Duemler said. “No one plays a one-three-one zone, so it’s difficult for other teams to prepare for it.”

May tipped away a pass on the SGHS possession out of the time out, and Pritchard was fouled by Mikayla Mitchell on her way to the rim. It was Mitchell’s fifth as she exited the game with only five points. Pritchard buried both free throws giving AHS its largest lead of the game at 53-44. The Lady Tartans tried to respond, but made only one of four free throws on attempts by Palleschi and Brown. SGHS took another time out at the 1:33 mark trailing by eight, but Stanavich put the finishing touches on an outstanding night with another steal out of the time out, helping seal the win. Stanavich finished the fourth quarter with eight points and hauled in her tenth rebound giving her a “double-double.”

“Jackie (Stanavich) was great in our win up at Queensbury,” Coach Duemler said. “She’s learning that she can go by kids when she wants to.”

Amsterdam’s “1-3-1” zone defense was one aspect of their game that led to success on Monday. The Lady Rams also had a better effort rebounding with both Pritchard and Stanavich collecting ten rebounds. Amsterdam also did a better job defending against Palleschi and Mitchell, who teamed up for 33 points in the first meeting two weeks ago, but the two battled foul trouble for much of the game and were held to 13 points in the rematch. SGHS’ Rhaymi Porter scored 12 points and had a game high 16 rebounds. However, she didn’t get every rebound and the Lady Rams were able to box out and got boards from Lucia Liverio, Taylor Flint, May, and Elena Fedullo.

“Better,” Coach Duemler said when asked to describe the AHS rebounding effort compared to two weeks ago when the team lost to Scotia-Glenville. “The loss to Scotia-Glenville showed a flaw. We’ve been working every day in practice, and spending more time on rebounding.”

Amsterdam only trailed twice in the game. Winney hit back-to-back three-point tries in the first quarter giving Scotia-Glenvile its first lead at 9-8. Pritchard quickly put it back in AHS’ favor with four straight points to end the opening period with the Lady Rams in front 12-9. The Lady Tartans largest lead was only two, at 31-29 early in the third quarter after a jump shot by Brown. Pritchard responded again scoring the next five points, with three from the free throw line. The largest run the Lady Tartans had was eight points on a pair of free throws by Palleschi and Winney’s second set of back to back three’s late in the second quarter. Those efforts cut the lead to 25-23 with time winding down before the half. AHS senior guard Taylor Flint knowing how much time was on the clock, took the ball near the top of the key, never hesitated, and calmly netted a three at the buzzer for her only points of the game pushing the led back to five, 28-23 at the break.

“We were confident,” Pritchard said. “We came out hungry and aggressive, and we didn’t let them get a run on us. We knew we couldn’t let them get ahead. And, we weren’t selfish.”

Pritchard’s 22 points was a game high. Stanavich’s 17 points marked the eleventh time that she and Pritchard have both scored in double digits. May finished with eighth points, Liverio scored four points, Flint had three, and Fedullo added two for Amsterdam (15-2, 14-2 Foothills Council).

Winney’s five triples gave her a team high 15 points for the Lady Tartans. Porter had a ‘double-double’ with 12 points and 16 rebounds. Palleschi scored five points, Mitchell and Brown each had five points, and Juliana Geniti scored four points for Scotia- Glenville (13-3 Foothills Council).

The Rams have little time to reflect on the win. Amsterdam is home tonight with a 6pm varsity start against Schenectady. The game is a replacement for an earlier contest with Syracuse Academy of Science that was cancelled due to a winter storm. Junior Varsity tip time is scheduled for 4:30pm.

The Lady Rams will wrap up their 2017-2018 Foothills Council schedule with a pair of home games beginning with Thursday’s match up with Queensbury, and concluding with Monday’s ‘senior night’ contest against Schuylerville.

“If we win on Thursday we clinch the title because we own the tie breaker,” Coach Duemler said.

Authors Notes:

Freshmen make their mark

During Amsterdam’s first game with Scotia-Glenville two weeks ago, Jackie Stanavich and Antonia May teamed up for only 17 points in the Lady Rams second loss of the season. Monday night, much to the dismay of the Lady Tartans, the AHS starting freshmen performed much better. Stanavich scored 17 points by herself, and May added eight including a pair of clutch three-point shots. Altogether, 13 of Amsterdam’s 17 fourth quarter points were from the freshman starters helping the Lady Rams rally

Record Watch: Giuliana Pritchard’s 22 points on Monday night gave her 395 for the season. With five more points she will become only the third Lady Rams player to score 400 points in a single season. If Pritchard scores 51 points during her last three games (and sectionals) she will set a new single season scoring mark breaking the record of 445 points set by Nina Fedullo in the 2015-2016 season. The possibility also exists for Pritchard to get to 500 points depending on how far the Lady Rams go in the playoffs, and she would be the first player in the programs’ history to do that.

Freshman Jackie Stanavich broke the 200 point barrier this season during her 17 point effort against Scotia- Glenville. Stanavich became the first freshman since Nina Fedullo to accomplish the feat.

Freshman Antonia May became the fourth Lady Rams player to score 100 or more points this season during Amsterdam’s 73-48 win over Queensbury on Friday. May scored nine points in the win including a pair of three-point goals. She leads the Lady Rams with 25 triples this season.

Senior Lucia Liverio needs only two points to become the fifth Lady Rams player to score 100 or better points this season. When she does, it will mark the third straight season that Amsterdam has had at least five players with 100 or more points.

The Amsterdam Lady Rams junior varsity team lost its first game of the season last Friday in a battle of the unbeatens with Queensbury. The young AHS squad defeated SGHS 52-24 on Monday, and can earn a share of the league JV title with a win on Thursday. Tip time is scheduled for 5:30pm.

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.