In his last home game, Phil Miskinis was at his best.
Amsterdam’s senior center scored 22 points, ripped down nine rebounds and assisted on five baskets to propel the Running Rams to a 70-49 Section II tournament Class AA play-in win over Queensbury Friday night.
“Our Senior Night was Tuesday, and it was a tough loss for us,” Miskinis said of an 84-79 Big 10 setback against Albany. “Fortunately, we got another chance to play at home, and we took advantage of it. It’s a good way to go out.”
Miskinis was a first-half force in totaling 14 points, with all seven of his baskets coming on power moves in the paint. The sturdy 6-foot-2 12th-grader delivered eight points in a 21-12 second-quarter spurt as Amsterdam (Big 10 No. 8, 6-15) worked its advantage to 37-27.
“He’s a senior. He understands that this could have been it,” Amsterdam coach Joe Agresta said of the Big 10 all-star candidate. “There was a little urgency there.”
Senior guard Ben Miseikis had 13 points and six assists for Amsterdam, and senior forward A.J. Filiberto scored six of his nine points in a 10-4 run to begin the third quarter. That quick burst signaled the end to the Running Rams’ five-game losing streak, and sent them on to a Wednesday night quarterfinal game at Shenendehowa (19-1), the Suburban Council’s No. 1 seed.
Amsterdam topped Bethlehem in a first round game last year before giving up 108 points in a quarterfinal loss to Bishop Maginn, which went on to claim both the Section II and state championships.
“This gives us a little momentum going into Shenendehowa,” Agresta said. “Let’s try not to be a one-night wonder.”
Queensbury closed out at 4-17 with its fourth straight sectional loss following a 2006 play-in win against Troy. Junior guard Caleb Johnson scored 15 points for the young Spartans, who had previously beaten Schalmont twice and Glens Falls twice.
“I was scared to death of this game,” Agresta said. “They’ve got three or four guys who can do things, but with their record, I thought my guys might overlook them. Maybe they did a little bit early on, but not for too long.”
Queensbury hung tough in the first quarter and tied the game at 14-all on a drive by Sam Gleason. Miseikis ended the quarter with a buzzer-beating jumper, and started the next with an assist on a Miskinis hoop. Miskinis dropped in two more baskets in an 8-0 push midway through as Amsterdam’s advantage grew to 31-20, and his final bucket gave the Rams a 33-23 lead, and they maintained a double-digit cushion the rest of the of the way.
“In the first half pretty much everything was running inside to me and A.J.,” Miskinis said after his 11th straight double-digit scoring effort. “It worked out for us.”
Filiberto scored three inside baskets, Miskinis also scored down low and Miseikis hit a jumper to help extend Amsterdam’s lead to 47-31 in the third quarter. The Rams led by 20 at the break, and by as many as 26 in the final period.
“Probably the key the second half was when Filiberto hit them with those three baskets,” Agresta said. “We talked about not letting them get any momentum in the third quarter.”
Amsterdam defeated Queensbury in last sectional game between the teams, a 2003 play-in, before the Rams lost at Shenendehowa.
Blue Devils win
Steven King matched his season highs with five three-point baskets and 23 points, and Columbia used a 20-10 third-quarter run to beat Niskayuna, 54-47, in a Class AA play-in game.
Columbia (SC No. 8, 11-10) will meet Big 10 champ and No. 1 seed Bishop Maginn (17-3) in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round. Bishop Maginn roughed up Columbia in last year’s first round, 107-46, before eliminating Amsterdam, Colonie and CBA.
Guy Waltman scored 20 points as Niskayuna (5-16) lost to Columbia for a second time.
AMSTERDAM 70, QUEENSBURY 49
Coughlan 3-1-7, Cronin 2-3-8, Gleason 3-2-8, Homkey 1-2-4, Horgan 1-2-4, Johnson 2-10-15, Naqvi 1-1-3. Totals: 13-21-49.
Bergh 2-0-4, Filiberto 4-1-9, Miseikis 6-0-13, Miskinis 10-2-22, Peluso 2-2-6, Pringle 1-0-2, Robertshaw 3-0-6, Sobkowich 0-1-1, Velasquez 1-3-5, Flowers 1-0-2. Totals: 30-9-70.
Queensbury 14 13 9 13 — 49
Amsterdam 16 21 19 14 — 70
Three-point goals: Cronin, Johnson, Miseikis.
COLUMBIA 54, NISKAYUNA 47
Bayly 3-0-7, Peters 2-2-7, Powers 2-3-8, Royce 1-0-2, Waltman 9-2-20, Wyngowski 1-1-3. Totals: 18-8-47.
Diggs 2-0-5, Gaule 3-2-8, Keefe 4-1-10, King 6-6-23, Reed 2-2-6, Wilbur 1-0-2. Totals: 18-11-54.
Niskayuna 11 15 10 11 — 47
Columbia 15 8 20 11 — 54
Three-point goals: Bayky, Peters, Powers, Diggs, Keefe, King 5.