GLENS FALLS — More than two decades have passed since Amsterdam last won an area championship in boys’ basketball.
The Rams get the chance Saturday to end that drought.
“It’s everything you strive for when you start up in November,” Amsterdam head coach Tim Jones said. “You want to be here.”
Amsterdam earned the right to be in this year’s Section II Class A championship against Mohonasen with a 77-65 win Wednesday against Gloversville at Cool Insuring Arena. Sophomore Ozzy DeJesus led the way with 26 points and 11 rebounds, but each of Amsterdam’s starting five totaled double-digit scoring.
“Our top strength is that we can work with each other,” said Amsterdam senior Willie Brown, who scored 14 points.
FINAL: Amsterdam 77, Gloversville 65
Amsterdam vs. Mohonasen for the Class A #518hoops title on Saturday pic.twitter.com/59zHpYrj6W
— Michael Kelly (@ByMichaelKelly) March 1, 2018
Against Gloversville, that strength showed itself in Amsterdam’s ability to pound the glass. The lengthier and more athletic Rams used a 46-30 rebounding advantage to power their win against a Gloversville team that made 11 3-pointers — one fewer than how many Amsterdam attempted.
“Gloversville is a team that will never give up,” said Amsterdam senior Louis Fedullo, who had 15 points and 11 rebounds. “They’ll just keep coming at you and coming at you.”
Amsterdam (No. 1, 18-4) and Gloversville (No. 5, 15-7) split their Foothills Council meetings this season. In the third game between the teams, Gloversville used a 5-0 spurt to start the fourth quarter to pull within 57-52, but the Rams scored the next five points as they started a decisive 13-5 run. From there, Gloversville never got closer than nine points.
Sophomore Dante Bouchard led Gloversville with 25 points.
For Amsterdam, senior Deanthony Colon had a dozen points and junior Jeffrey Brennan had 10 as the Rams surged into Saturday’s championship game.
“We’re just going to have to do what we’ve got to do,” DeJesus said of his team’s matchup with Mohonasen, the program that bounced the Rams from last year’s postseason in the quarterfinals. “We’re not going to worry about what they do. We’re going to do what we do.”
“We’ve just got to work hard, rebound the ball, play a lot of defense and just work together,” Brown said.
The Rams last won an area championship back in 1995, years before anyone on this season’s roster was born.
Jones doesn’t expect his team to play with the weight of that drought on its shoulders come Saturday.
“We’re here,” Jones said, “and we’re going to be ready to play.”
Is there anything fun about playing in overtime in the semifinals?
“I liked it,” Mohonasen junior Duncan Tallman said, “because I knew we were going to win the whole game.”
For long stretches in Mohonasen’s 56-54 overtime win against Lansingburgh, it didn’t look that way — but the Mighty Warriors stayed together in posting a comeback victory.
“We fought the whole game. We always believed ‘we not me,’” said Mohonasen senior Gregory Van Epps, echoing the slogan across the top of Mohonasen’s warmup shirts.
FINAL: Mohonasen 56, Lansingburgh 54#518hoops pic.twitter.com/vRNMIBVej0
— Michael Kelly (@ByMichaelKelly) March 1, 2018
Lansingburgh (No. 3, 15-7) led for nearly all of the game, but Mohonasen (No. 2, 13-9) forced overtime after Van Epps made a couple of free throws in the final minute. Later, as the overtime moved into its final minute, Van Epps hit a 3-pointer to put the Mighty Warriors up 55-50.
Lansingburgh had a shot in the final seconds to tie it, but it was off the mark.
“We just kept fighting,” Van Epps said. “Never gave up.”
Tallman finished with 14 points and Van Epps had 13. Junior Jalani Abdul-Aziz added a dozen points and 10 rebounds for Mohonasen, while junior Chase Monroe had 10 points.
For Lansingburgh, sophomore Isaiah Knight had 17 points.
Tallman said the Mighty Warriors will be ready to show Saturday that they deserved the top seed for the tournament.
“We’ve just got to prove to everyone that we should have got it,” Tallman said.
AMSTERDAM 77, GLOVERSVILLE 65
Bouchard 7-6-25, Stanfield 1-0-2, Duemaga 4-0-10, Galster 5-1-12, Rowback 4-3-14, Jones 1-0-2. Totals: 22-10-65.
Brown 5-3-14, Colon 4-2-12, Fedullo 5-5-15, Brennan 3-2-10, DeJesus 11-4-26. Totals: 28-16-77.
Gloversville 16 19 12 18 — 65
Amsterdam 22 18 17 20 — 77
Three-point goals: Bouchard 5, Deumaga 2, Galster, Rowback 3, Brown, Colon 2, Brennan 2.
MOHONASEN 56, LANSINGBURGH 54 (OT)
Knight 5-4-17, Little 5-2-12, Tario 2-1-7, Bessette 2-1-5, Green 5-2-13. Totals: 19-10-54.
Calkins 0-1-1, Tallman 6-1-14, Richmond 1-0-2, Abdul-Aziz 4-3-12, Van Epps 2-7-13, Deas 2-0-4, Monroe 3-4-10. Totals: 18-16-56.
Lansingburgh 15 7 12 14 6 — 54
Mohonasen 8 12 11 17 8 — 56
Three-point goals: Knight 3, Tario 2, Green, Tallman, Abdul-Aziz, Van Epps 2.
Reach Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.
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Categories: -Sports-, High School Sports