Lady Rams basketball program celebrates season, recognizes seniors at annual banquet

The Amsterdam High School Lady Rams basketball program celebrated another successful season and recognized the accomplishments of four senior varsity players at its annual banquet on Thursday, April 12 at Amsterdam High School.

The girls basketball program consists of four teams including seventh grade modified, eighth grade modified, junior varsity, and varsity. Following a buffet-style dinner, coaches of the four teams introduced their players to a gathering of parents, family, friends, and invited guests.

Seventh grade coach Alison Randel and eighth grade coach Julie Pendt presented the modified teams that posted winning records during the 2017-2018 basketball campaign. The Amsterdam modified teams based at Lynch Literacy Academy have provided the building blocks for the success of the junior varsity and varsity programs.

Coach Jessica Byerwalters introduced the Lady Rams junior varsity team that posted an overall record of 19-1 during the 2017-2018 season including a 17-1 mark in a very competitive Foothills Council (Section 2- NYSPHSAA). Amsterdam shared the 2017-2018 junior varsity title with Queensbury after defeating the Lady Spartans 49-47 on February 8, 2018 at Amsterdam High School, and closing out the season with a 64-22 victory over Schuylerville on February 12.

Members of the 2017-2018 Amsterdam junior varsity team included Shelby Lamont, Natalie Flint, Emily Schaufelberg, Gianna King, Yariana Toro, Margaret Hughes, and six players who were called up to the varsity team for the sectional playoffs; captains Kayli Hoefs, Francesca DeRosa, and Grace Patrei, and Andie Gannon, Sydney Hoefs, and Mianna Jackson.

The Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity team completed an overall 20-3 record and won their second Foothills Council title in three years with a 16-2 mark. Amsterdam advanced to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Section 2 Class A title game for the third consecutive season, in the process posting playoff victories over South Glens Falls High School, and the Academy of Holy Names. The Lady Rams contended with Averill Park High School in the final and managed to take the lead in the second quarter, but in the end fell to the defending champion Lady Warriors 79-60 at Hudson Valley Community College on March 3, 2018. Amsterdam senior Giuliana Pritchard was named to the NYSPHSAA Section 2 Class A All-Tournament Team along with Lady Rams freshman Jackie Stanavich.

Pritchard, along with seniors Lucia Liverio, Gianna DeRosa, and Taylor Flint were recognized for their hard work and dedication to the program. All four were active in the Lady Rams basketball clinics held each year for the benefit of future generations of Lady Rams basketball players. Coach Eric Duemler presented a varsity team that included Pritchard, Liverio, DeRosa, Flint, and juniors Elena Fedullo, Madison Carmona, and Kim Lopez, and freshman Stanavich, Antonia May, and Charli Beekman.

All four seniors were recognized as good role models for the younger players providing leadership during their years with the programs. DeRosa and Flint were two year varsity players described as courageous, determined, and energetic. Both scored more than sixty points this year and were among the team leaders in rebounds and three point goals. Flint was this year’s recipient of the basketball program’s “Seward Starfish Award” for her leadership and dedication.

Liverio served as the team’s point guard all three seasons she was on varsity, and all three ended with an appearance in the sectional final. Liverio exemplified the point guard position and her unselfish play led to many scoring opportunities for players like Pritchard and former Amsterdam standout Nina Fedullo, who both scored over one thousand points in their AHS basketball careers. Liverio finished her three years on varsity with 276 points and 271 assists, setting a personal high mark of 124 assists in her junior year. Liverio also earned an honorable mention on the 2017-2018 Foothills Council Girls Basketball All Star Team.

Pritchard, a five year varsity player, was at the heart of the Lady Rams success and handled it with a sense of professionalism that made her an outstanding leader on and off the court. Pritchard was quoted as saying “It’s not about one of us, it’s about all of us.” Always putting her team first, Pritchard met expectations and adversity head-on and led the Lady Rams in pursuit of their goals. She finished the 2017-2018 season with a school record 542 points in a single season, became only the second Lady Rams player to record one thousand points in a career (1,256), and was named the 2017-2018 Foothills Council Girls Basketball MVP. Pritchard was named to the NYSPHSAA Section 2 Class A First Team All Stars, and likely will receive nomination to the New York State Sportswriters Association (NYSSWA) All Sate Team. She was a 13th team NYSSWA All-State selection last year and should improve on that standing when the all-state teams are announced later this month. Coach Duemler presented Pritchard with the basketball that will be placed in the AHS trophy case noting Pritchard’s accomplishments on the court.

Both Liverio and Pritchard have decided to continue their basketball careers at the college level. Pritchard indicated she will be playing for Hartwick College (Oneonta, NY), while Liverio currently has elected to play both basketball and soccer at Cazenovia College (Cazenovia, NY).

Guest speaker for the event was current Amsterdam High School acting interim principal Michele Downing. The Lady Rams thanked the coaches and the many people who helped throughout the season including Amsterdam Athletic Director Steve Nolan, Amsterdam Athletic Trainer Carla Pasquarelli, the voice of the Lady Rams home games, and master of ceremonies for the event Barry Rouse, scorekeepers Bill and Patti Willis, team managers Haley Madej, and Lily Orengo, Lady Rams booster club president Carmie Pritchard, and all the parents and friends who helped with the concession stand, ball girl Abby Grant, her sister Emma, and their parents who made it to every Lady Rams game, and the sponsors of the golf tournament as well as the people who helped find sponsors so that the Lady Rams could travel to tournaments, and provide needs for their season.

Authors Note: Giuliana Pritchard will be playing for a Hartwick College women’s basketball program that once featured another Amsterdam High School alumni who also played in a NYSPHSAA Section 2 championship game. Erica Sheckton (AHS 1994) was a starting forward for the 1993-1994 Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity team that was the first girls basketball team in school history to reach a sectional final. Sheckton finished her career at Hartwick with 1,108 points, in 13th place on the college’s all-time scoring list. Sheckton also achieved 100 blocks in her career. The single season best for scoring on the Hartwick Hawks women’s basketball team currently is 542 points set by Sally Gangell (1981-1982). That total is the same as Pritchard’s record mark in her senior season at Amsterdam High School.

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.