Hot-shooting Gloversville beats Amsterdam in Class A boys’ basketball semifinal

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Gloversville’s Giorgio Glionna with the ball against Amsterdam’s Ceasar Thompson and JJ Pleasant during Section II Class A semifinals at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls on Thursday, March 3, 2022.

GLENS FALLS — Two shots told the story.

Early in the first quarter of Gloversville’s 60-50 Section II Class A boys’ basketball semifinal victory over Amsterdam on Thursday at Cool Insuring Arena, Gloversville junior guard James Collar chucked up a 3-pointer that hit the front of the rim, only to get the friendliest of shooter’s rolls and drop through the hoop.

Two quarters later, on Gloversville’s first possession of the third quarter, center Gio Glionna spotted up from beyond the arc and launched a 3 that seemed too strong, only for it to bank home.

The shots were falling, and for Gloversville, that meant a spot in the Class A final on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Mekeel Christian Academy.

“You know we were hitting,” Gloversville coach Ed Collar said, “when we banked in a couple shots.”

Online Extra: Images from Gloversville’s big semifinal win over Amsterdam (21 photos)

Eighth-seeded Gloversville (14-9), which was coming off a double-overtime upset of No. 1 Troy last Sunday in the quarterfinals, established a double-digit lead by the end of the first quarter thanks to four 3-pointers in the opening eight minutes — two from James Collar, two from Anthony Gray — and never looked back.

Gloversville’s lead ballooned to as many as 16 points, and while No. 4 seed Amsterdam (16-6) got back within single digits in the final 90 seconds — the first time the game had been that close since early in the second quarter — there was no big comeback for the Rams at the end of the night.

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“They had a lot of guys step up,” Amsterdam coach Tim Jones said. “It’s tough to beat someone when they have a bunch of guys step up. You’ve got to tip your hat to them.”

James Collar had guided Gloversville through its first two Section II playoff wins, with 30 points against Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and 33 against Troy in a performance that saw him go a perfect 16 of 16 from the free throw line. 

He didn’t have the same explosive output against Amsterdam, finishing just 3 of 16 from the field — with all three made shots coming in the first quarter — and finishing with 16 points, but Gloversville got huge contributions from role players.

Gray hit four 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 16 points, Rocco Insonia proved 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench and Glionna added 11 points and nine rebounds.

“Shots were falling for us tonight,” Ed Collar said. “That gives us more confidence on the defensive end, more energy. You always seem to play better defense when you make a few shots. What’s been helping us recently is we’ve been getting the lead in the first quarter, and we feed off of that energy from there.”

Online Extra: Images from Gloversville’s big semifinal win over Amsterdam (21 photos)

“We can always look back and say that we could’ve done this, could’ve done that,” Jones said. “You’ve just got to tip your hat to the kids that play the game.”

Ceasar Thompson scored 17 points for Amsterdam, with Jhai Vellon and Victor Dueno adding 11 points each, but while Gloversville was 10 of 24 from 3-point range, Amsterdam was just 4 of 16. 

“Just disoriented,” Jones said. “They stunned us with a couple of their 3s, and it threw ourselves into a different realm.”

Gloversville will face Mekeel Christian Academy, a 64-50 winner over Hudson Falls in Thursday’s other semifinal, in Saturday’s championship game. Gloversville, which last won an area championship in 1989, last appeared in the Class A final in 2019 in a losing effort against Troy.

More from Gloversville – The Leader-Herald

Gloversville 19 13 16 12—60

Amsterdam 9 12 13 16—50

Gloversville scoring: Perez 1-0-2, Collar 3-8-16, Gray 5-2-16, Insonia 3-4-12, Glionna 4-2-11. Amsterdam scoring: Vann 1-0-2, Thompson 8-0-17, Vellon 4-3-11, Dueno 4-0-11, Pleasant 4-1-9. Scoring totals: Gloversville 17-14-60, Amsterdam 21-4-50.

Online Extra: Images from Gloversville’s big semifinal win over Amsterdam (21 photos)

By Adam Shinder

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