AMSTERDAM — A fast start and a big finish proved to be just enough for the Amsterdam boys’ basketball team Friday.
The Rams started quickly and finished with a flourish to post a hard-fought 53-50 victory over Hudson Falls in a battle of unbeaten Foothills Council teams at Amsterdam High School.
“That was a good game,” Amsterdam coach Tim Jones said. “It was two good teams playing hard. They’re a good team and they’re well coached.”
Jhai Vellon scored 17 points to lead Amsterdam, while Victor Dueno finished with 15 points. Alec Bartone had nine points for the Rams, and Ceasar Thompson added eight points.
“It was a game of two opposing styles,” Jones said. “We wanted to speed things up more than we did, and we wound up playing at their pace for a lot of the game.”
Peyton Smith finished with a game-high 25 points for Hudson Falls, while Joe Palmer added nine points. The Tigers were playing without two key contributors Friday.
“We were down Brady [Smith] and Ethan [France] tonight. That didn’t help us, but we had some guys come in and play well,” Hudson Falls coach Greg Smith said. “The depth we’re starting to build is only going to help us.”
Playing their fifth game in eight days, the Rams got out of the gates quickly, jumping out to a 9-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game.
Amsterdam rode its early momentum to a 19-12 lead after one quarter. Vellon had nine points in the opening quarter for the Rams.
However, the Tigers turned the tables in the second quarter, outscoring Amsterdam 23-7 to surge to a 35-26 halftime lead.
“I thought we did a great job of handling their pressure in the first half,” coach Smith said. In the second half, we missed some shots we normally make. A couple of plays here and there and it might have been a different outcome.”
Peyton Smith scored 10 points in the second quarter for Hudson Falls.
“We knew he was going to score. He’s a great player,” Vellon said. “We just double-teamed when we could and helped out down low.”
The Tigers stretched their advantage to 12 points with a 6-3 burst to start the second half, taking a 41-29 lead with 6:15 left in the third quarter.
“Give them credit. They did a lot to disrupt what we wanted to do,” Jones said.
Amsterdam slowly chipped away at its deficit, outscoring the Tigers 12-4 over the final six minutes of the third quarter to trail 45-41 heading into the fourth quarter.
“Our defensive intensity is something that won’t show up on the stat sheet, but that was huge for us,” Jones said.
Amsterdam pulled to within 45-43 when Bartone opened the fourth-quarter scoring.
Down 46-43, Dueno banked home a 3-pointer to knot the game at 46-46 with 5:59 to play, sending the Amsterdam fans into a frenzy and setting the tone for the remainder of the game.
“That was a huge shot,” Jones said. “That really got things going for us.”
Amsterdam took the lead for the first time since the second quarter on a three-point play by JaShean Vann with 5:26 to play.
“We played with a lot of effort and energy in the second half,” Vellon said. “It was a game of runs tonight.”
Amsterdam never trailed the rest of the way, but Hudson Falls had several opportunities late to pull even or take the lead.
Down 52-50, Peyton Smith missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 1:45 left for the Tigers and missed a jumper from the elbow with 15 seconds to play.
“Payton missed a free throw late and had the ball with 15 seconds left and missed an elbow jumper,” coach Smith said. “I think the exhaustion just finally got the best of him.”
Amsterdam got the ball via possession arrow after a tie-up and Dueno made 1-of-2 free throws to make it 53-50 with 1.3 seconds remaining. Hudson Falls threw pass the length of the court, but was unable to get a shot off as the Rams held on for the win.
“We weathered some storms tonight. It’s not always easy to turn the page when you’re struggling,” Jones said. “We stuck with it and we were able to get the win.”
Amsterdam (6-0 Foothills, 10-1 overall) is slated to travel to Glens Falls on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. Foothills Council game.
“We would love to see them again, in Hudson Falls, if we could. Maybe we’ll see them again at the end of the season in the crossover game at the Armory in Albany,” coach Smith said. “We’ve got a long way to go though, and the Foothills is no joke. Every night, everybody throws their best shot.”
Hudson Falls (5-1 Foothills, 8-2 overall) is scheduled to travel to Queensbury on Monday for a 6:30 p.m. Foothills Council game before hosting Johnstown on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Hudson Falls 12 23 8 7 — 50
Amsterdam 19 7 15 12 — 53
Hudson Falls scoring: Williamson 3-0-7, Hardwick 1-1-3, Tyler 1-0-2, DuPuis 2-0-4, Palmer 4-0-9, P. Smith 12-0-25. Amsterdam scoring: Vann 1-2-4, Dueno 4-1-15, Thompson 3-0-8, Vellon 7-3-17, Bartone 4-1-9. Team totals: Hudson Falls 23-1-50. Amsterdam 19-7-53.
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Categories: High School Sports, Sports