AMSTERDAM – With a two-day-old offense and a defense that never stopped from the opening tip-off, the Amsterdam girls’ basketball team got a memorable, signature win Wednesday.
The Rams rebounded from their season-opening loss to Mohonasen on Saturday with a 44-39 win over Schalmont in a non-league matchup.
Amsterdam had the lead three times, but never held onto it for long. That was until Sharazade Cooper muscled inside for a basket to put the Rams ahead 39-37 with 1:10 left.
Annie Fedullo made a foul shot to make it 40-37 with 24.8 seconds left. Schalmont closed the gap to 40-39, but Natalee Agresta stole the ball and was fouled with 13.1 seconds left. She made both free throws to put Amsterdam up 42-39. Cooper added two more free throws for the final margin.
“We have basically five new starters playing new positions, some new kids mixed in, and our ceiling is higher than some of our other teams might have been because we have farther to go,” Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler said. “We’re blending together, we’re working hard.”
Duemler said the team changed its offense over the last two days in practice, working it so that the big girls were down low more often.
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“We’ve only practiced that two days, so I’m excited to see how it works in the future,” Duemler said.
Cooper is only 5-foot-7, but she not only got inside occasionally, but also guarded Schalmont’s top player, the 6-foot Karissa Antoine.
“It was definitely a lot of getting down low, hitting her in her bottom area, because obviously she’s way taller,” Cooper said. “Kind of pushing her out of the paint.”
As for the ultimate go-ahead bucket, Cooper said in the moment, she just did whatever had to be done.
“I think I did see something a little bit,” Cooper said of the play.
Amsterdam’s man-to-man defense never let Schalmont (1-2)) have an uncontested shot, or rarely a moment to relax.Ten of the 11 girls played, and they all came ready to contribute.
Felise Fowler came off the bench to lead Amsterdam in scoring with 15 points, including 13 in the first half, when the teams were tied at 23. First-year player Annie Fedullo, at 6-2, had a solid all-around inside game with a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds.
“Every game she says she’s nervous, but we reassure her, ‘You are the tallest girl on the court, you are going to do some damage,’ and she does,” Cooper said of Fedullo.
Cooper added six points and five rebounds. Kaijah Fowler had six points, and Annie Agresta scored five and was steady at the point.
Antoine led Schalmont, the defending Class B state champion but with a new cast this season, with 16 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. Arianna Brandon added 13 points.
The smile on Cooper’s face after the game revealed how big a win it was.
“I definitely think that when we feel we can beat a team, we play a bit lower,” Cooper said, “but when we’re face to face with a team we know is good and has skill, we play up and we keep the momentum up and the energy up.”
Schalmont 14 9 9 7 – 39
Amsterdam 11 12 6 15 – 44
Schalmont scoring: Frank 0-1-1, Cirilla 4-0-9, Antoine 6-4-16, Brandon 3-4-13. Amsterdam scoring: Fedullo 5-2-12, Cooper 1-4-6, K.Fowler 2-2-6, Agresta 1-3-5, F.Folwer 6-0-15. Scoring totals: Schalmont 13-9-39. Amsterdam 15-11-44.
Contact Will Springstead at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @WLSpringstead.
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Categories: High School Sports, Rotterdam, Sports, Sports