Joe Girard III was on a roll. Amsterdam was, too.
“We were going to get him the ball,” first-year Glens Falls coach Rob Girard said after his second cousin finished off an upset win over the Running Rams Tuesday night. “When he was 11 or 12, he won a national free throw championship. He’s in the Springfield hall of fame.
“When it’s late, we’re going to get him the ball.”
Amsterdam outscored Glens Falls 27-17 down the stretch, with Girard III delivering each of the Indians’ 17 points to push his total to a school-record 52 in an 87-82 Foothills Council victory.
“It feels good,” Girard, a freshman point guard, said. “In our first game, I had 45 and it was, ‘Wow, geez.’ Tonight I was just trying to put the ball in the hoop and win the game.”
Girard III went 12-for-12 from the line down the stretch with a three-point basket and a layup. He was perfect on all 22 of his free throws in the game, swishing each one until the last got a piece of the rim and fell through for an 87-80 lead with 19.2 seconds left.
“I go into a game with the mentality that I’m going to go to the line, and I’m going to make them,” Girard III said.
“Anyone who goes 22-for-22 from the line, that’s impressive,” Amsterdam coach Tim Jones said. “That’s a stat you can’t shake off.”
Senior guard Kory Bergh was Amsterdam’s standout, piling up 34 points with eight rebounds, four assists and four steals. Bergh generated 11 of Amsterdam’s 27 points in the fourth-quarter run that came after his team fell behind 70-55.
“He’s our leader. We want the ball in his hands,” Jones said of Bergh. “Toward the end we didn’t get the ball in his hands enough.”
Glens Falls (3-1, 3-2) got the ball to the guy it wanted to just about every time as Amsterdam (3-1, 3-1) mounted its comeback.
“Coming down the stretch, you’ve got to make free throws,” Girard III said. “They’re such an important part of the game.”
Girard III added eight three-point baskets as part of his monster effort.
Girard III scored 31 points over the final two quarters to become the third Section II player to reach 50 this season, following Chris Boucher of Fort Edward (55 vs. Salem) and Erin Langworthy of Warrensburg (51 vs. Corinth).
“My dad [former St. Mary’s-Glens Falls and Shenendehowa star Joe Girard Jr.] always says you can’t be a one-trick pony,” said Girard III, who had two assists and blocked a shot. “When we go to the gym, we work on more than shooting. I’m always trying to improve my overall game.”
Tony Green scored 21 points for Glens Falls, with his three giving the Indians their 70-55 advantage. His Glens Falls teammate, Andrew Stamatel, was a force on the boards with 15 rebounds.
“Everyone knows Joe is a great player,” Rob Girard said. “The other guys know they need him, but Joe knows he can’t win anything without the other guys.”
Girard III scored eight points and Green added four in a 17-0 run near the end of the second quarter as the Indians went up 42-28, but Amsterdam did not wilt.
“He got the 52. I look up, and we’re still there,” said Jones. “People will remember Joe got 52, but we had guys who stepped up. We were excited to be in it.”
Amsterdam got as close as three on two foul shots by Bergh (76-73), on a three-pointer by Matt Fedullo (79-76), and on a layup by Ty Hanna with just under a minute to go (81-78). Girard followed that basket with two from the line for his 47th and 48th points, and added four more free throws soon after.
Hanna finished with 17 points, Fedullo had 13 and Ben Rhodes netted 10.
“When we got down 15 we fought back,” Jones said. “We were getting our hands on the ball. We were doing some good things that we can build on.”
Glens Falls started the fourth quarter with a 13-4 spurt which included a three-pointer and three foul shots by Girard III.
Girard III scored his 45 points in a last-second 65-64 loss at Mekeel Christian Academy early this month. He set a Glens Falls record that night with 10 three-point baskets.
Girard III 11-22-52, Holness 2-0-5, Sampson 1-0-2, Stamatel 2-0-4, Green 10-0-21, Schliff 1-1-3. Totals: 27-23-87.
Bergh 9-13-34, L. Fedullo 0-1-1, M. Fedullo 4-4-13, Hanna 7-0-17, Garner 1-0-2, Holloway 2-1-5, Rhodes 4-2-10. Totals: 27-21-82.
Glens Falls 15 27 15 30 — 87
Amsterdam 15 15 21 31 — 82
Three-point goals: Girard 8, Holness, Green, Bergh 3, M. Fedullo, Hanna 3.