AMSTERDAM — Johnstown had nothing to do with the motivation Amsterdam brought into Friday night's boys' basketball game between the Foothills Council representatives.
The Sir Bills just happened to be in the way of a Rams team that's looking to finish out the regular season strong and maybe make some noise come sectional time.
Amsterdam used its swarming press to turn Friday's game in its direction, and posted its second win in a row since losing to Scotia-Glenville in a game it thought it should have had.
"We didn't play our game, and Scotia was hungry that night," Amsterdam senior forward Kevin Perez said of the 59-48 setback against the Tartans a week ago. "That game was a jump start as a team and as individuals. We didn't like how that felt."
The Rams felt better Tuesday after beating Schuylerville 74-51, and even more so after taking down Johnstown 88-35 in a game that included 35 steals by the Rams, and a late-game scoring burst by team newcomer Tyrell Douglas.
"It's a collective team buy-in," Amsterdam coach Tim Jones said after a win against his alma mater. "After we lost to Scotia it was, 'Where do you want to go? A lot of teams have potential. What do you want to do with that potential?'"
Amsterdam displayed a bunch of it in the middle quarters against Johnstown, pulling away from a 17-12 lead with a 20-10 second-quarter push, which was followed by a 33-6 surge. Not only was Amsterdam effective with its press during that stretch, but also with its halfcourt defense, and the Rams shared the ball well.
"The past couple of games, we've built a lot of momentum, and we want to keep that going," said Perez, who equaled a season high with 16 points, snared six rebounds and blocked two shots. "We're getting better as a team and as individuals."
It was as a pressing team that Amsterdam (6-4 league, 6-6 overall) gave Johnstown (1-8, 1-10) the most trouble.
"That's their style of play," Johnstown coach Phil Satterlee. "We knew they were going to do that. To their credit, they did it well."
Of Amsterdam's 35 steals, many were turned into easy points. Yandeel Vazquez had a double-double with 12 of those steals, including seven in the first half, and 15 points.
"You see all the steals, but behind the scenes was the trap," Jones said. "We were very effective with our traps."
"When we're pressing well, we get a lot of easy baskets," Perez said. "It's all about communication on the court and being in the right spots."
Johnstown, Satterlee said, has struggled against full and halfcourt pressure throughout the season.
"We've been shooting ourselves in the foot," the Sir Bills' second-year varsity coach said. "We average 21 turnovers a game. We're trying to figure out what to do with those turnovers."
Douglas scored 15 points for Amsterdam, with the recent junior varsity call-up generating all of those after Jones pulled his starters with two minutes left in the third quarter. Douglas, a sophomore guard, scored seven points in his varsity debut Tuesday against Schuylerville.
Caydren Graveley added 11 points for the Rams.
"We've got to continue to play like we did tonight," Jones said. "We want to continue to build momentum and break down some walls."
Johnstown 12 10 6 7 — 35
Amsterdam 17 20 33 18 — 88
Johnstown scoring: Sanges 1-2-4, Hoyt 3-0-7, Mureness 0-1-1, Serpa 1-1-4, Cross 2-0-6, Massey 1-0-2, Feinour 3-1-7, Miller 2-0-4. Amsterdam scoring: Colon 3-0-8, Graveley 4-3-11, Ausfeld 2-3-7, Vazquez 7-1-15, Perez 8-0-16, Ziskin 4-0-8, DeRosa 2-0-4, Douglas 5-2-15, Shatas 2-0-4. Scoring totals: Johnstown 13-5-35, Amsterdam 37-9-88.