Lady Rams shake off slow start in semifinals

Amsterdam’s Guiliana Pritchard (23) muscles her way around the Academy of the Holy Names’ Grace Field (2) to drive to the hoop during a Section II Class A semifinal game Tuesday at Colonie High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

COLONIE — After an uncharacteristic first quarter where their turnovers outnumbered their points, the Amsterdam Lady Rams didn’t panic, they regrouped.

Committing nine first-quarter turnovers and falling behind the Academy of the Holy Names 17-6, the Lady Rams turned it around to outscore Holy Names 31-7 over the next two quarters en route to picking up a 55-36 victory in a Section II Class A semifinal game Tuesday night at Colonie High School.

“It wasn’t panic,” Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler said about what he saw in his team’s eyes after the first quarter. “We talked about having good possessions on offense and getting deflections on defense, where they were screening and doing to the backside of our zone. They players felt it and started adjusting on the fly. They ran some good stuff early, but our defense started to take over.”

With the victory, second-seeded Amsterdam returns to the Class A championship game to play four-time defending champion and top-seeded Averill Park at 7:45 p.m. Friday at Hudson Valley Community College.

Led by Mackenzie Ward and Grace Field, Holy Names forced the Lady Rams to turn the ball over nine times and allowed only one field goal, a jumper from the left wing by Antonia May, in the opening quarter and build a 17-6 lead.

Freshmen May and Jackie Stanavich stepped up to spark the Lady Rams comeback in the second quarter, combining for nine of Amsterdam’s 13 points in the quarter and cut Holy Names’ advantage to a single point, 20-19 at the break.

“They came out and were making every shot,” Duemler said. “They were slicing up our 1-2-1 then the girls adjusted and we locked them down pretty good in the second and third quarters. No one panicked. Holy Names played great defense but we were trying to take advantage of our size and quickness. We got a lot of scores in transitions and we lived on that.”

Amsterdam continued to roll in the third quarter with a 16-2 run over the first five minutes of the second half to take control and end the quarter with a 37-24 advantage.

The Lady Rams made the most of their bench to maintain the lead in the final eight minutes and punch their ticket to the Class A championship game.

May and Stanavich combined for 30 of the Lady Rams’ 55 points, with May hitting for 16 and Stanavich 14 points. Senior Guiliana Pritchard finished with 13 points, while Elena Fedullo had eight and Charli Beekman and Lucia Liverio added two points apiece.

Field and Ward led third-seeded Holy Names with 11 points apiece.

“A lot of people this summer and fall thought we were rebuilding because we lost so much, but I was thinking about how much we still had and how hard these girls worked in AAU over the summer,” Duemler said. “We are back [in the finals] again and we are going to try to represent our community as best we can. It is going to take a gigantic effort, and they would have to have an off game, but all we need is a chance, and we are going to have a chance Friday,”

Amsterdam 55, Holy Names 36

Holy Names 17 3 4 12 — 36

Amsterdam 6 13 18 18 — 55

Holy Names

Adams 1-2-4, Cepiel 1-3-5, Cohen 1-0-3, Field 5-1-11, Ward 4-0-11, Williams 1-0-2. Totals: 13-6-36.


Beekman 1-0-2, Fedullo 4-0-8, Liverio 0-2-2, May 6-3-16, Pritchard 5-3-13, Stanavich 3-8-14. Totals: 19-16-55.

3-point goals: Holy Names 4 (Mackenzie Ward 3, Keira Cohen); Amsterdam 1 (Antonia May).

By Paul Wager

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