Amsterdam girls’ basketball looks to replace graduated stars

Coach Eric Duemler talks to his team during the Amsterdam Rams girls' basketball practice Wednesday, November 23, 2021 at the high school gym. 

Coach Eric Duemler talks to his team during the Amsterdam Rams girls' basketball practice Wednesday, November 23, 2021 at the high school gym. 

AMSTERDAM — Amsterdam girls’ basketball coach Eric Duemler is missing some key pieces in his starting lineup this season, and he’ll need all hands on the ball to make the Rams whole again.

“We lost close to 60 points a game, so as a coach it’s interesting to me to see where the points are going to come from,” Duemler said. “Where is that going to come from in practice and who develops into what role.”

Amsterdam graduated three players who are now playing college basketball: Antonia May at UMBC, Jackie Stanavich at Mercy and Andie Gannon at Roberts Wesleyan.

“You don’t have Toni [May] to score for you or Andie [Gannon] to get every rebound, these girls have to step up,” Duemler said. “Last year you could say Hey, Jackie [Stanavich] will handle it, Toni [May] or Andie {Gannon] will handle it now.”

With a trio of stars gone, Duemler is aware of what the Rams may look like on paper this season.

“I love being the underdog, it’s a whole different mentality here,” Duemler said. “We’ve been [an underdog] in the past, in the Big 10 especially. Then we’ve had so many great girls come through, six playing in college right now. These girls have looked up to those girls and now it’s their turn.”

Duemler added only one new player this winter, allowing Amsterdam to start running its offensive sets quickly with the help of this year’s veterans.

“We’re leaning on Sydney [Hoefs] a ton, leaning on Sierra [Goodson] and Rose [Sculco] who was up as a freshman last year,” Duemler said. “We’re leaning on those three a ton right now.”

For the returning seniors — challenge accepted.

“Coach always has the same mentality, it doesn’t matter who left, who stayed,” point guard Sydney Hoefs said. “If you’re new, if you’re a veteran, you still play as hard as you possibly can.”

Last winter’s season for the Rams began in January and was limited early on to Montgomery County opponents due to county restrictions brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Section II did not host a tournament in any sport last winter as regional and state competitions were also canceled.

That led to a higher participation rate during the summer for Duemler and the Rams as this year’s group vies for league, area, and state title opportunities.

“We’re thankful as seniors that we’re going to have that one last season to put our hearts out there and for the younger girls,” Hoefs said. “They’re going to get that chance to play with older girls and have that experience and build on what we’re leaving.”

The seniors worked on their individual skills during the off-season.

“I’m a shooter and I’ve extended my range,” Goodson said. “I’ve worked on moving past the defender and getting my shot up.”

Hoefs was anxious to start her next chapter.

“We needed to be back in the gym, last season was a different season than what we usually expect,” Hoefs said. “For me it’s confidence as a point guard. You’re setting your team up, looking to make that pass or find the next best one.”

For the Rams this winter it will be “next player up” as they open their Foothills Council season against Schuylerville Dec. 2 at home.

“That’s the challenge we’re presenting them as coaches and I look forward to see how they handle it,” Duemler said. “It’s exciting to be the player that has to do it.”

Categories: High School Sports, Sports


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