JOHNSTOWN - The Johnstown Lady Bills picked up their third straight win Monday, staving off the Amsterdam Lady Rams 42-36 in a non-league girls basketball game at Johnstown High School.
After scoring 34 and 32 points in the first halves of their last two contests, the Lady Bills came out slower on Monday night. Both teams struggled with turnovers throughout the game, which was a defensive battle throughout.
Johnstown (3-1 overall) took a quick 8-2 lead in the first quarter, but with 2:09 remaining, leading scorer Hope Cerasuolo hit the deck for the Lady Bills. Cerasuolo left the game with a leg injury but returned early in the second quarter.
Johnstown’s Annie Stock, right, is fouled by Amsterdam’s Brandy Santiago during Monday’s non-league game at Johnstown High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
The Johnstown offense was stagnant in the two minutes following Cerasuolo's departure, but Megan Anagnostopulos was big on the boards for the Lady Bills. Caitlin Gannon made Amsterdam's (1-4 overall) first field goal of the game with 1:00 remaining - a three-pointer that cut Johnstown's lead to 8-5.
The Lady Bills were able to stretch their lead in the second quarter despite seven turnovers. Johnstown displayed their tenacity on the glass early in the quarter when they grabbed three offensive rebounds in one possession, setting up a basket from Kelsi Barnholt on Johnstown's fourth shot attempt.
Guilianna Pritchard, an eighth-grade starter for the Lady Rams, began to percolate midway through the second. Pritchard hit back-to-back jumpers to bring Amsterdam within two.
The Lady Bills were a perfect 6/6 from the free throw line in the quarter and led 20-13 at the break.
Johnstown's stellar free throw shooting took a backseat in the third quarter as they hit only 5/12 from the stripe. Freshman Nina Fedullo connected for five Amsterdam points early in the quarter and Gannon knocked down her third three of the game to pull the Lady Rams back within two.
It was Cerasuolo, however, that impressed the most in the third. She put in two layups and knocked down three free throws for seven of her game-high 19 points.
Anagnostopulos pushed Johnstown's lead to six with a second-chance layup in the final minute of the quarter.
Both teams struggled to maintain possession in the final quarter. Gannon opened up the fourth with another three-pointer, but seven more turnovers put a halt to Amsterdam's offensive rhythm and doomed the Lady Rams. The Lady Bills also turned the ball over seven times in the final frame, but won the turnover battle 21 to 26 overall. Johnstown ended the game on a 7-2 run keyed by four free throws by Annie Stock.
Anagnostopulos, Stock, and Brianna O'Rourke each chipped in six points for the Lady Bills to go along with Cerasuolo's 19. Gannon led Amsterdam with 15 while the two youngest girls on the roster, Fedullo and Pritchard, combined for 16 points.
Both teams have the majority of the week off to enjoy the holidays but will be back in action Friday for the Amsterdam Holiday Classic at Amsterdam High School. Johnstown will take on Mekeel Christian at 1 p.m. in game one of the tournament, followed by Amsterdam versus Corcoran at 2:30 p.m.
Johnstown 42, Amsterdam 36
Amsterdam5 8 12 11 - 36
Johnstown8 12 11 11 - 42
Cerasuolo 6-7-19, Anagnostopulos 1-4-6, Stock 0-6-6, O'Rourke 3-0-6, Barnholt 1-0-2, McCoy 1-0-2, Nellis 0-1-1. Totals 12-18-42.
Gannon 5-1-15, Fedullo 2-4-8, Pritchard 4-0-8, Devine 1-2-4, Filiberto 0-1-1. Totals 12-8-36.
3-point goals: Amsterdam 4 (Gannon 4); Johnstown - none.