AMSTERDAM – When Amsterdam’s Nina Fedullo scored the 1,000th point of her career on a free throw with 1:35 left in the second quarter, she smiled, graciously accepted flowers, a balloon and a round of applause before hitting a second free throw.
But when the junior hit a 3-pointer with 50 seconds left in the game to give the Lady Rams control of the Section II Class A quarterfinal game Saturday, she yelled and pumped her fist as she raced back on defense and helped lock down the 65-54 victory over Mohonasen at Amsterdam High School.
“Once I hit that foul shot the game just came to me,” Fedullo said. “I was just really excited[after the 3-point shot]. I wasn’t great from the 3-point line today and then to hit one it was just a great shot to get ahead and it was a great feeling. I was feeling it [from 3-point range] but they just weren’t falling.”
The second-seeded Lady Rams (16-5) advance to the Class A semifinals for the first time since 2008 and will face No. 3 Troy Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Ballston Spa High School. In the other Class A semifinal, scheduled to be played at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Ballston Spa High School, top-seeded Averill Park will face No. 5 Hudson Falls.
The winners advance to Saturday’s championship game scheduled for 4:15 p.m. at Hudson Valley community college.
Amsterdam got off to a quick start with Fedullo hitting a 3-pointer in a game-opening 6-1 run before Mohonasen coach Doug Holden called a time out.
The Lady Warriors came out of the time out shooting.
Megan Clute and Quinn Roderick hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Saeeda Abdul-Aziz pulled down three rebounds and scored on a put-back to grab a 9-6 lead.
Fedullo hit a free-throw to interrupt the Mohonasen run before Abdul-Aziz hit four free throws and Elizabeth Brown hit a basket to take the lead to 15-7.
The Lady Rams outscored Mohonasen 4-2 in the closing minute to close the gap to 17-11 at the end of the opening period.
Amsterdam picked up its defense in the second period and held the Lady Warriors to three baskets; a 3-pointer and a field goal from Abdul-Aziz and a basket from Elizabeth Brown, while getting field goals from Fedullo and Giuliana Pritchard to go with a 6-for-10 effort from the free-throw line in the quarter to cut Mohonasen’s lead to 24-21 at the break.
The lady Rams went to work in the third quarter and took their first lead since early in the first quarter, 32-30, on a long jumper from Maria Lomanto with with 3:07 left in the period.
Mohonasen rallied back and with the help of back-to-back 3-pointers from Taylor Lupi to take 39-36 lead before Pritchard and Autumn Duemler hit baskets and Kaitlyn Devine added a free throw in the final minute to give the Lady Rams a 41-39 lead heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Amsterdam stretched its advantage to five 47-42 with 6:13 remaining before Lupi again stepped up for the Lady Warriors with a pair of 3-pointers to counter free throws from Duemler and Pritchard to knot the game at 50 apiece with 4:17 left on the clock.
The teams exchanged leads until Devine used some creativity on an inbound play under the Rams basket, bouncing the inbound pass off the back of a Mohonasen player, recovering the ball and laying it in to tie the game at 54 apiece.
“She has been wanting to do that for three years,” Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler said.
Amsterdam kept the momentum going as Fedullo delivered a basket to give Amsterdam a 56-54 lead with 2:29 left to play.
The Lady Rams picked up their intensity on defense, pressing the Mohonasen ballhandlers deep in the backcourt to force turnovers or hurried shots and hold the Lady Warriors scoreless over the final three minutes of play.
Offensively, Devine added a lay-up off a tip from Brandy Santiago on an offensive rebound to build a 58-54 advantage before Fedullo grabbed a defensive rebound, raced upcourt and nailed her decisive 3-pointer with 50-seconds left on the clock.
“That 3-pointer Nina made was a monster shot,” coach Duemler said.
Amsterdam closed out the game shooting 4-for-6 from the free[throw line to earn a berth in the Section II Class A Final Four.
“We made them play defense in the second half,” coach Duemler said. “Kaitlyn Devine and Lucia Liverio controlled the tempo and got us into our plays and we attacked the basket. We just kept it on them and wore them down. Saeeda [Abdul-Aziz] is a great player [and thought] if we get her tired out maybe she would miss a shot once in a while. If anything we were able to get some turnovers, which brought energy and momentum. We got some baskets and got to the foul line because we made them foul us and got some extra possessions.”
Fedullo finished the game with 27 points, including a 14-for-18 effort from the free-throw line. Devine finished the night with 12 points and Pritchard chipped in with 10.
The Lady Rams converted on 27 of 42 free throws in the game.
Abdul-Aziz led the Lady Warriors with her double-double of 19 points and 19 rebounds, while Lupi had 16 points including four 3-pointers.
Amsterdam 65, Mohonasen 54
Mohonasen17 7 15 15 – 54
Amsterdam11 10 20 24 – 65
Lupi 6-0-16, Brown 3-1-7, Clute 2-0-5, Roderick 2-0-5, Abdul-Aziz 5-8-19, Drezelo 1-0-2. totals: 19-9-54.
Lomanto 2-0-5, Santiago 1-1-3, Fedullo 5-14-27, Liverio 1-0-2, Devine 4-4-12, Pritchard 3-4-10, Duemler 1-4-6. Totals: 17-27-65.
3-point goals: Mohonasen 7 (Taylor Lupi 4, Megan Clute, Quinn Roderick, Saeeda Abdul-Aziz); Amsterdam 4 (Nina Fedullo 3, Maria Lomanto)