Pounds answers call, propels Crusaders past Rams

The only significant number in Talia Pounds’ first-half stat line Friday night was two personal foul
Amsterdam’s  Emily Greco  passes past the reach of Catholic Central’s Abigail McCarthy in girls’ basketball laction Friday night.
Amsterdam’s Emily Greco passes past the reach of Catholic Central’s Abigail McCarthy in girls’ basketball laction Friday night.

The only significant number in Talia Pounds’ first-half stat line Friday night was two personal fouls.

The Catholic Central junior changed that over the final two quarters, with her bounce-back performance helping the Crusaders forge a 49-48 victory over Amsterdam in a tussle between longtime Big 10 rivals.

“I had to sit her because of the fouls, and she was feeling pretty low not being in there and helping the team,” Audra DiBacco said after winning her coaching debut with Catholic Central. “I told Talia, ‘Your job is to step up,’ and she went out and played very well. I’m very proud of her.”

Pounds scored all nine of her points and snared all seven of her rebounds in the second half, while Shenendehowa transfer Hannah Kutny delivered 12 points and Maria Foglia had 10 as Catholic Central beat Amsterdam for the third straight time going back to last season.

Pounds produced the first five points and later assisted on a pair of baskets by Kutny in a 14-4 run spanning the third and fourth quarters which turned a 34-32 Catholic Central deficit into a 46-38 advantage.

“I had those two fouls in the first half,” said Pounds, who came within two points of matching her career-best output. “In the second half, I knew had to do much better. It feels great when you can help your teams build a lead.”

“She was determined to leave this gym with a win,” DiBacco said.

“She played a great second half,” Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler said of Pounds. “She was active. She knocked down a couple of jump shots. That turned the mom­entum their way.”

This game went to way so many others have between the teams that combined for five straight Big 10 titles before Schenectady surge to the top last season. The intense, physical contest saw each squad whistled for 22 fouls, with Catholic Central going 25-for-43 from the line and Amsterdam

14-for-22. There were a combined 54 turnovers, and 10 lead changes, with Pounds creating the last on a jumper and then a foul shot to make it 35-34 entering the final stanza.

“When you come here you’ve got to expect a battle,” said BiBacco. “I remember two years ago when I was an assistant we got up on them by 20 points and they came back and won the game.”

Amsterdam came back Friday night, using a three-point basket by Emily Graco and two free throws and a three-point play by Allie Zabo to get within 49-48 inside the final minute.

“There’s no question we’re going to play until the end, whether were down by one or down by 20,” said Duemler. “Our kids always play hard.”

Pounds took a jump shot after Zabo’s three-point play and missed the mark, but teammate Lexi Cuomo gained inside position and grabbed an offensive rebound before the Crusaders called time out with 21.2 seconds left. Though their ensuing play ended on a missed layup by Foglia, Amsterdam didn’t have enough time to get off a quality shot.

“It was one of our regular games with Catholic High,” said Duemler. “This one went their way. They got us this time, but we’ll see them again. Maybe more than one time.”

Kaitlynn Smith led Amsterdam with 14 points, and Angela Damiano and Zabo both finished with 11. Greco added a pair of three-point baskets for the Rams, her first giving the hosts their 34-32 lead in the third quarter.

Pounds scored on a putback and a layup before that three, and answered it with five straight points, ending the quarter with a jumper and foul shot before starting the fourth with two free throws early on for a 37-34 lead. The junior later hit Kutny with passes down low, and the sophomore’s layups made it 39-36 and 43-38. Kutny’s free throw and two more by Alexi Howland extended Catholic Central’s lead to 46-38 with 4:57 remaining.

Skippy Ripepi had six assists and four steals for Amsterdam, which dipped to 1-1. The Rams roughed up Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons in their season opener, 66-17, behind Hillary Rouse’s game-high 15 points. Rouse did not score Friday night, though the senior captain did pull down 10 rebounds.


Creighton 1-0-2, Foglia 2-6-10, Regan 0-2-2, Pounds 3-3-9, Kutny 4-4-12, Deguire 2-0-4, Howland 0-9-9, Huff 1-0-2. Totals: 12-25-49.


K. Smith 4-4-14, M. Smith 3-0-6, Damiano 4-3-11, Zabo 2-7-11, Greco 2-0-6. Totals: 15-14-48.

CCHS 12 10 13 14 — 49

Amsterdam 14 10 10 14 — 48

Three-point goals: K. Smith 2, Graco 2.

Categories: High School Sports

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