AMSTERDAM — A celebration of nine graduating seniors in their final home game became historic as the Amsterdam boys’ basketball team claimed its first-ever Foothills Council title with a 74-55 win over Schuylerville at Amsterdam High School Friday night.
“Amsterdam has been a great city and community for a long, long time,” senior Jhai Vellon said. “We knew we were going to go be Foothills Council champions if we won, so it just means a lot.”
Vellon led the Rams with a 20-point night, including eight in the first quarter as he continuously drove to the basket against Schuylerville.
The Black Horses were efficient on their offensive end, led by Lukas Sherman’s seven-point first quarter. He then carried the squad on his shoulders, scoring 11 more points in the second quarter.
But by then, the table had been set by Amsterdam, who used their outside offensive shooting skills to pull away — led by senior Victor Dueno.
“We know that Victor is going to make a couple more [after his first 3-pointer],” Vellon said. “We’re just going to feed him the ball anytime he’s open. We know he’s going to make it.”
Dueno hit three 3-pointers in the second quarter, energized fellow senior Ceasar Thompson added two more and Vellon dropping in his lone trey of the night.
Dueno knew he was in the zone shortly after the second quarter started.
“Definitely after the second one, because after the first one, it could just be a regular, normal jump shot,” Dueno said. “After the second one, it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, now I’ve got it going and I feel the touch.’”
Dueno finished with 17 points, including five three-pointers.
Amsterdam led 38-27 at the half and continued to apply tenacious pressure on Schuylerville throughout the second half, including limiting Sherman to 11 points in the second half — courtesy of Vellon’s defense.
“He was scoring a lot in the first half so I asked coach to let me get on him and just make it hard for him when he’s not having the ball, just getting up into his chest,” Vellon said. “I just made it hard for him to catch the ball.”
Sherman finished with a game-high 29-points for Schuylerville.
The transition from driving the lane on almost every possession in the first quarter and switching to a precision shooting outside offense proved to be too much for Schuylerville and other Foothills Council opponents this season.
“I think we found a very good identity going inside-out,” Amsterdam coach Tim Jones said. “Those 3s are happening because of the inside presence. We may not have been scoring, but if you’re constantly living at the basket, it’s in the back of your head.”
Friday’s league championship win was also created years ago, according to Jones.
“We’ve seen this group come up from playing a year with Fleet [Amsterdam Fleet AAU basketball], from modified teams all the way through,” Jones said. “These guys are committed, they’re talented and these guys have risen to every occasion all the way through.
“They’ve been tested at Queensbury, Glens Falls and with Hudson Falls they were tested. It wasn’t like everything’s been great, but these seniors, they devoted the time and you can tell they’re seniors and they wanted and they’ve done some great things.”
Schuylerville 11 16 11 17 — 55
Amsterdam 14 24 22 14 — 74
Schuylerville scoring: DeGregory 1-0-2, Ot. Bolduc 3-0-6, Brophy 1-1-4, Ol. Bold 1-1-4, Sherman 11-2-29, Steinberg 1-0-3, Cumin 0-3-3, Flanders 2-0-4. Amsterdam scoring: Vann 4-1-10, Dueno 6-0-17, Thompson 6-3-18, Azam 1-0-3, Vellon 7-5-20, Bartone 3-0-6. Team totals: Schuylerville 20-7-55, Amsterdam 27-12-74.
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Categories: High School Sports, Sports