Amsterdam girls’ basketball overcomes tough stretch to defeat Mohonasen

Two basketball players in foreground in game, one with the ball

Amsterdam’s Rosie Sculco drives hard against Mohonasen’s Caitlyn Richmond during the Section II Class A girls’ basketball tournament first-round game Saturday at Schalmont High School.

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ROTTERDAM — The Amsterdam girls’ basketball team wasn’t able to recover from a rough second quarter when it lost to Mohonasen in its season opener in December, and had another one of those difficult stretches in Saturday’s Section II tournament rematch.

“They crept back in it, and now it’s 0-0,” said Amsterdam senior Rosie Sculco, reciting the halftime speech she gave to the rest of the Rams. “We are the ones that are going on a run, and it starts with defense.”

After Mohonasen answered a 16-7 first-quarter run by Amsterdam with one of its own in the next frame, the Rams reverted to their early-game form and ended the Mighty Warriors’ season with a 52-35 Class A first-round win at Schalmont High School.

The Rams (No. 10 seed, 11-10) started the contest with 10 unanswered points, and outscored the Mighty Warriors 21-11 in their breakaway third quarter that included spurts of 6-0 and 11-0.

“We got into the locker room at halftime and it was, ‘They’re scoring too much,’” Amsterdam senior Sharazade Cooper said.

Payton Whipple sank a short jumper to cap Mohonasen’s second quarter and tie the game at 23. The Mohonasen freshman also opened the third quarter with a layup to nudge her team ahead for the first time, and Cooper answered with a successful drive to begin Amsterdam’s big push before Sculco sank a free throw and Natalee Agresta nailed a 3-pointer.

Holding a 44-34 lead after three, Amsterdam outscored Mohonasen 8-1 in the last quarter to clinch a quarterfinal date at Averill Park (No. 1 18-2) Thursday.

“This is the team we knew,” Mohonasen assistant coach Doug Holden said of the second quarter, when Isabella Petrocci and Ava Quenneville both scored four points. “We went on a run, and then we could not make a basket. Amsterdam did, and that’s why they’re going to the next round.”

Cooper finished with 10 points, Felise Fowler scored six of her nine in the third quarter and Sculco and Kaijah Fowler both netted eight. Cooper also collected six rebounds and three steals, and Annika Fedullo had a team-best 11 rebounds as the Rams avenged a 53-38 loss to the Mighty Warriors.

That Dec. 3 game saw a 7-4 Amsterdam lead erased when Mohonasen put together a decisive 19-7 second quarter burst.

“In that first game, we were working on a new defense,” Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler said. “The slides were slow. The help was slow. Tonight, I thought our help was better.”

Mohonasen (No. 9, 10-11) sank eight 3s in that early-season game, and used the longball as a chief weapon this season as it bounced back from 4-16 showing in the 2021-22 campaign. Mohonasen, though, only managed a pair of 3s in Saturday’s rematch, while the Rams knocked down six of them.

“We were getting a hand in their face and securing the rebound,” Sculco said.

“I’ve got to give Amsterdam some credit,” Holden said. “They had a great game plan. They didn’t give up 3s.”

Cooper scored her first six points in the first quarter when Amsterdam built its 16-7 lead, and when Kaijah Fowler hit a 3 and Sculco scored on a putback, the Rams advantage grew to 21-7 early in the second frame. Four Mohonasen players accounted for points in a 9-0 charge afterward.

“They have a lot of strong leaders,” Cooper said of Mohonasen. “Their leadership showed when they went on that run.”

Petrocci scored 11 points, going 11 for 11 from the line, to lead Mohonasen. The junior sank three 3s and delivered 19 points in Mohonasen’s win back in December.

“She hurt us in the first game,” Duemler said. “Five [Petrocci], 14 [Whipple] and 24 [Caitlyn Richmond] were the girls we wanted to contain.”

Richmond had 10 points, and Whipple had seven. Isabella Clute contributed eight rebounds and four steals.

Mohonasen is losing only two seniors in Jillian Collins and Sydney Rifenburg, and will be further bolstered next season by a JV group that went 15-5. 

Amsterdam will next meet an Averill Park team that won its eighth straight Section II championship last season as a springboard to the state Class A title.

Amsterdam defeated Mohonasen in the first round last year 68-39 and then lost to Catholic Central in the quarterfinals 37-28.

Amsterdam 16 7 21 8 — 52

Mohonasen 7 16 11 1 — 35

Amsterdam scoring: Fedullo 1-2-4, Martinez 1-2-5, Cooper 4-2-10, K. Fowler 3-0-8, Agresta 2-1-6, F. Fowler 2-3-9, Sculco 3-2-8, Brown 1-0-2. Mohonasen scoring: Collins 1-0-2, Manzo-Pietrefesa 0-1-1, Petrocci 0-11-11, Quenneville 2-0-4, Richmond 2-5-10, Whipple 3-0-7. Team totals: Amsterdam 17-12-52; Mohonasen 8-17-35.

Categories: -Sports-, High School Sports

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