Amsterdam boys’ basketball bench players shine in win over Johnstown


Amsterdam’s Nomi Azam lines up a shot against Johnstown Tuesday night in Foothills Council action at Amsterdam High School in Amsterdam.

AMSTERDAM — The Amsterdam boys’ basketball starters finished Tuesday’s 75-46 Foothills Council win over Johnstown with the best seat in the house, watching the Rams’ bench players outscore the team’s starting five.

The Amsterdam starters raced out to a 25-4 first quarter lead over the Sir Bills, and coach Tim Jones turned to his reserves for ample minutes in the contest the rest of the way for the 7-0 Rams. Junior Nomi Azam didn’t waste any time, exploding for 14 of the Rams’ 24 second-quarter points, hitting four 3-pointers in the quarter.

“I just had the hot hand and my teammates kept on giving me the ball,” Azam said. “I practice those shots daily. My teammates knew when to find me and I hit them.”

Azam wasn’t the only Rams reserve to make his presence felt in a Foothills Council game Amsterdam led 49-16 at halftime.

“Just the energy they brought was amazing,” Amsterdam coach Tim Jones said. “J.J. Pleasant immediately goes in and got three offensive rebounds. . . . We talk about how you can be the best in your role and do it. He did a great job.”

The Rams bench had little time to rest, as it was inserted again late in the third quarter before playing the entire fourth. By game’s end, Amsterdam’s bench had outscored the team’s starting five 39-36.

“You never know when your time [to shine] is,” Jones said, “especially during the times that we are in [with COVID] . . . nothing is ever guaranteed, so you might as well make the most of it.”

Seeing playing time for just the second time this season, his first year at the varsity level, Azam finished with a game-high 17 points.

“I was just really motivated,” Azam said. “I had something to prove out there knowing my abilities, how to score the ball and do what I can do. It really paid off.”

Rams starter Ceasar Thompson added 14 points, while Johnstown was led by Ryan Hoyt’s 11-point night with reserve Elijah Jones adding 10 points off the bench for the 0-11 Sir Bills.

With each Azam 3-point shot in the second quarter, his teammates were on their feet cheering his shots, something that they have seen before — but in practice.

“We knew he had it in him, but it’s another thing to do it in a game compared to when you’re in practice,” Jones said. “I was proud of him for stepping up and showing what he could do, and I’m proud of the rest of the guys for what they were able to do.”

Johnstown           4 12 17 13 — 46

Amsterdam        25 24 15 10 — 75            

Johnstown scoring: B. Jones 0-2-2, Everest 2-0-6, Mureness 3-0-9, Stewart 2-0-4, G. Jones 4-0-10, VonNoshand 1-0-2, Hoyt 4-3-11, Whellis 1-0-2. Amsterdam scoring: Douglas 2-3-9, Thompson 6-0-14, Vellon 3-0-7, Vann 2-0-4, McHeard 1-0-2, Dueno 2-0-5, Pleasant 2-0-4, Bartone 4-0-8, Azum 6-0-17, Bottisti 0-1-1, Franklin 2-0-4. Scoring totals: Johnstown 16-5-46, Amsterdam 30-4-75.

By Stan Hudy

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