Amsterdam uses strong start to post boys’ basketball win over Gloversville

Amsterdam's Jhai Vellon (11) goes up for a shot during Tuesday's Foothills Council game against Gloversville at Amsterdam High School.

Amsterdam's Jhai Vellon (11) goes up for a shot during Tuesday's Foothills Council game against Gloversville at Amsterdam High School.

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AMSTERDAM — A strong start proved to be just enough for the Amsterdam boys’ basketball team to improve to 6-0 on the season.

The Rams jumped out to a 12-0 first-quarter lead on their way to a 69-58 Foothills Council victory over Gloversville at Amsterdam High School on Tuesday.

“It was definitely the start we wanted,” Amsterdam coach Tim Jones said.

The Rams had four players score in double figures, led by Jhai Vellon, who finished with a game-high 24. Ceasar Thompson (16), JaShean Vann (15) and Victor Dueno (10) also hit double digits for Amsterdam.

Gloversville, which had just three players on the bench, was missing senior James Collar for Tuesday’s contest due to illness.

“James is a big part of their offense, so to not have him available tonight made it tough for them,” Jones said. “Hopefully, he gets better soon so they can get back to full strength. Even without him, we knew they were going to fight hard to the end.”

The Dragons got 16 points from Rocco Insonia, who also was battling illness. Insonia scored 14 points in the fourth quarter after having to sit out large stretches of the game to regroup. Mariano DiCaterino had 15 points for Gloversville, and Cal Porter added 10. Dom Dorman had nine points for the Dragons, and Leo Perez contributed eight.

“I give the kids credit. They fought right to the end and never quit,” Gloversville coach Ed Collar said.

The shorthanded Dragons found themselves facing an uphill battle from the start as the Rams burst out to a quick 12-0 advantage.

“It was one of the things we talked about before the game. We didn’t want to fall behind 10-0 or 12-0, but that’s what happened. It was a nightmare start for us,” coach Collar said.

Amsterdam finished the opening quarter with a 21-7 lead as Vellon (nine points) and Thompson (eight) combined for 17 first-quarter points.

The Rams’ lead continued to grow in the second quarter as they used full-court pressure to push their advantage to 21 points.

Vellon scored nine points in the second for Amsterdam to finish the first half with 18 as the Rams took a 40-19 lead into the break.

“The kids played tentative in the first half, and if you play to try to avoid mistakes, that’s when you make them,” coach Collar said. “We had 18 turnovers in the first half. We just gave the ball away too much.”

Gloversville opened the second half with a 10-4 burst to close to within 15 points.

“Without James handling the ball against their press, it was tough on us,” coach Collar said. “We settled in in the second half and played hard the whole way.”

Trailing 48-29 after three quarters, Gloversville outscored Amsterdam 29-21 in the final quarter.

“The second half, we struggled a bit, but they’re kids and they will learn from the experience,” Jones said.

“Amsterdam is a solid team,” coach Collar said. “We know what we need to raise our level to when we play them at our place later this season.”

Amsterdam (3-0 Foothills, 6-0 overall) is scheduled to travel to Scotia-Glenville on Friday for a 7 p.m. contest. It will be the first of three games in three days for the Rams, who also will face Green Tech on Saturday and Dwight School on Sunday. Both of those games will be played at Albany Academy.

“We’ve got a busy stretch ahead of us,” Jones said.

Gloversville (2-2 Foothills, 4-4 overall) is slated to host Broadalbin-Perth on Friday at 7 p.m.

“We’ve played good at times and we’ve played bad at times in all facets of the game,” coach Collar said. “We’ve been inconsistent so far. Sickness hasn’t helps us. It’s gone through our team twice now. Hopefully, we can get healthy and make a run in the second half of the season.”

Gloversville 7 12 10 29 — 58
Amsterdam 21 19 8 21 — 69
Gloversville scoring: Dorman 3-0-9, Perez 4-0-8, DiCaterino 6-2-15, Porter 4-1-10, Insonia 5-6-16. Amsterdam scoring: Vann 5-4-15, Dueno 3-2-10, Thompson 5-4-16, Vellon 10-2-24, Bartone 2-0-4. Scoring totals: Gloversville 22-9-58. Amsterdam 25-12-69.

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