AMSTERDAM — When there’s a rebound to be had, Gloversville boys’ basketball senior forward Joey Rowback always seems to find himself in the right position to come away with the ball.
It’s an instinct borne from a lot of work put in since childhood.
“When I was a kid, I never used to shoot any 3s. I just used to be in the paint all the time,” Rowback said after Gloversville’s 74-56 Foothills Council win Tuesday against Amsterdam. “We used to do a drill where my coach would throw one off the backboard and I’d just have to grab the rebound. That’s been working a lot for me.”
Rowback scored 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in Tuesday’s win. Four of those boards came on the offensive glass, all of which led to putback baskets. Three of those came in the second half as Gloversville shrugged off a couple Amsterdam surges to put the game away.
“We had great composure tonight,” Rowback said.
Dante Bouchard battled through illness on his way to a 30-point night for Gloversville (11-1, 12-1), with 13 points coming in the fourth quarter as the senior guard fought through long stretches where his 3-point shot refused to fall.
Jaret Warner, playing just his second game of the season after an injury suffered late in football season, came off the bench to provide 13 points.
Having Rowback and Warner in the post makes even a tough shooting night easier on Bouchard.
“Even when we miss our quick 3s, we have two big guys that can get us a lot of second chances and layups,” Bouchard said.
Rowback’s rebounding and offensive versatility make him exceptionally valuable for the Foothills Council-leading Dragons.
“He’s a machine,” Gloversville coach Aric Kucel said. “That’s what he does. That’s why he’s one of the best players in Section II. He does it scoring inside and outside, he does it with his rebounding and defense.”
Yandeel Vazquez scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half for Amsterdam (7-5, 7-7), which had a three-game winning streak snapped.
After being limited to four points in the first half, Vazquez caught fire with 11 points in the third quarter as Amsterdam trimmed a 14-point halftime deficit to seven. Damian Colon and Caydren Graveley added nine points apiece for the Rams as the team found some offensive rhythm in the second half, but not enough to pull out of the hole they were in after being outscored 13-3 in the second quarter.
“Anything’s better than what we put up in the second quarter,” Amsterdam coach Tim Jones said.
Amsterdam was hampered by foul trouble for much of the game. Gloversville had a 12-2 advantage in free-throw attempts for the first half, and Rams center Kevin Perez was forced to sit for long stretches in the second half before fouling out.
“Unfortunately, foul trouble’s been too much of a problem for us lately,” Jones said. “That bit us tonight.”
For Gloversville, the win was crucial to sustain momentum atop the Foothills Council following Friday’s 57-55 win over Glens Falls. The Dragons have won eight straight since suffering their lone loss of the season on Dec. 20 at Queensbury.
“We knew that we had to keep up the pace,” Rowback said. “Obviously, [Glens Falls] was a big game for us, but every game’s just as big for us. Amsterdam’s a good team. They really had our attention, and every team we play should have our attention.”
Gloversville 17 13 20 20 — 56
Amsterdam 13 3 20 24 — 74
Gloversville scoring: Bouchard 10-7-30, Glionna 1-0-2, Jones 1-0-2, Rowback 8-8-24, Ruggeri 1-0-3, Warner 5-2-13. Amsterdam scoring: Colon 3-1-9, Graveley 4-1-9, Ausfeld 1-1-3, Vazquez 8-4-24, Perez 2-0-4, Douglas 3-0-7. Scoring totals: Gloversville 26-17-74, Amsterdam 21-7-56.
Reach Adam Shinder at [email protected] or on Twitter @Adam_Shinder.