Lady Rams could still make a run

In November, Eric Duemler was thinking this could be a spec­ial season for his Amsterdam girls’ bask

In November, Eric Duemler was thinking this could be a spec­ial season for his Amsterdam girls’ basketball team. Maybe another championship season.

Despite a .500 overall record and a 3-2 mark in the Big 10, the veteran coach still does.

“We have enough pieces where we can turn it around,” said Duemler, whose Lady Rams host Bishop Maginn tonight in a key league game for both teams. “We’re going to keep working hard and we’re going to keep pushing. We’ve got to get over the hump. It’s something we brought up in practice. We’ve got to find a way to win.”

Amsterdam hasn’t done that on a consistent basis, letting fourth-quarter leads get away in one-point losses to Catholic Central and Whitesboro, as well as in Tuesday’s 44-38 setback against Big 10 leader Albany.

Amsterdam’s other loss came against Corcoran, ranked No. 2 among state Class AA teams, 52-35.

“We had it the other night. We were up with two minutes to go, and they hit a three and got the lead. It was like we had never been in that situation before,” Duemler said of the setback which left his team at 4-4 overall. “We had two turnovers in a row and they made some foul shots . . .”

And the Lady Rams missed some big shots down the stretch, just as they had in a 49-48 season-opening loss to rival Catholic Central and in a 61-60 defeat at the hands of Whitesboro. Duemler said several of those misses came on layup attempts and short jumpers in the lane.

“It’s a new year, and we’re going to try to finish a little better. Focus is a big part of finishing,” said Duemler. “It’s correctable. We’ve got to find the backboard, stay square and put the ball in.”

Amsterdam’s strength has been defense, with no Section II team reaching 50 points against the Lady Rams’ multiple schemes. Senior tri-captain Hillary Rouse has 35 of her team’s 125 steals as well as 14 blocked shots.

“I like the defensive part of it. We’ve got a ton of steals and for the most part we’ve made it difficult for other teams to score on us. That’s why we’re not getting blown out,” said Duemler. “But we’ve struggled with our shooting at times. If we get that taken came of, we’re going to make progress.”

Tuesday’s loss was significant, leaving Amsterdam in fourth place in the Big 10 behind Bishop Maginn (3-1), Catholic Central (4-1) and Albany (5-0). Amsterdam won back-to-back league championships 2007 and 2008, putting together a 24-0 record behind stars Brittany Stahura and Megan Gaugler, before dipping to 6-6 last season when Schenectady took the top spot.

“We could be 7-1 and unbeaten in the Big 10, but that’s not where we are. We put ourselves in this spot,” said Duemler. “That loss puts us two games back. Even if we win out, we’ll still need help.

“We’re happy we’re in it [the Big 10 race], but we’re not satisfied where we are.”

Rouse was Amsterdam’s lone double-digit scorer Tuesday with 14 points, and leads the Lady Rams with 10.8 and 11.6 scoring and rebounding averages. The forward will likely be joined in the starting lineup tonight by Allie Zabo, Skippy Ripepi, Angela Damiano and Megan Smith, with Kaitlyn Smith and Emily Greco the leading reserves.

Zabo scored a season-high 15 points when Amsterdam dealt West 50th Street its first loss, 52-42. Amsterdam also owns a win against Schenectady and two against Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons.

Bishop Maginn (6-2 overall) held off Schenectady Tuesday, 58-56. Janae Lyde scored a season-high 23 points in the Lady Griffins’ fourth win in five games, while Elizabeth Nowosielski also reach a season best with 14 points to go along with 10 rebounds.

Amsterdam and Bishop Maginn split two games last season, the second contest a 48-38 victory for the Lady Griffins.

The Big 10 boys’ feature tonight sends Schen­ectady (4-2, 5-2) to Albany (5-1, 5-1), while Western Athletic Conference Southern Division leaders Schoharie (5-0, 8-1) and Sharon Springs (3-1, 7-1) meet on the Spartans’ court. Voorheesville (6-0, 8-0), ranked No. 1 among the state’s Class C teams, hosts Watervliet (5-1, 8-2) in a key Colonial Council tilt.

Schenectady has dropped back-to-back Big 10 games to Christian Brothers Academy and Bishop Maginn, with a one-point victory over Albany Academy sandwiched in between. Albany has won four straight, all by at least 15 points.

Categories: High School Sports

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