AMSTERDAM - With the Section II championship tournament just a couple weeks away, the Johnstown Lady Bills are rounding into form.
Building off its 39-24 non-league victory Wednesday over Stillwater, Johnstown returned to the court Thursday night in a non-league game against Amsterdam.
The result was a second victory in as many nights as the Lady Bills shut out Amsterdam in the opening quarter and rolled to the 45-30 victory.
Johnstown’s Megan Anagnostopulos, left, and Amsterdam’s Kelly Paris scramble for a loose ball during Thursday’s non-league game at Amsterdam High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
"Any kind of win is good for us right now," Johnstown coach Tim Derwin said. "We have won four of our last five, so the team is heading in the right direction. We got a little out of control [third quarter] and kind of let them back in but I liked the way our girls finished tonight."
Coming off a 16-day layoff, the Lady Rams had trouble getting into the flow of the game against an upbeat Johnstown defense.
The Lady Bills capitalized on 13 Amsterdam turnovers in the opening eight minutes with five players putting scores in the book for an 10-0 lead.
It took the Lady Rams until 6:33 remaining in the second period to put their first points of the game on the scoreboard when Kelly Paris connected putting the score at 15-2.
Ashlee McDonald added a second basket before Lexi Swatt delivered her second 3-pointer of the period to open an 18-4 advantage.
Amsterdam put together an 8-0 midway through the second period and closed the gap to six, 18-12 before Megan Anagnostopulos broke the scoring drought for the Lady Bills with her put back of an offensive rebound and Hope Cerasuolo hit a buzzer-beater to close out the half with Johnstown leading 22-12.
"We haven't had a game in two weeks because we received a forfeit from the team [Bishop Gibbons] we were supposed to play during that time," Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler said. "But we have been practicing hard and scrimmaging a lot. Our offense has trouble putting the ball in the basket and it showed, especially in the opening eight minutes."
The Lady Rams put together their strongest quarter of the night, outscoring Johnstown 15-12 in the third period.
Latifa Woods-Walker delivered five of the Lady Rams third-quarter points in a 30-second span near the end of the period to trim Johnstown's 10-point halftime lead to five.
However, Cerasuolo scored on a put back in the closing minute to give Johnstown a 34-27 lead and momentum heading into the final period.
Amsterdam again cut the lead to five, 34-29 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter on a pair of Woods-Walker free throws, but that would be the only scoring for Amsterdam until the the final seconds of the game.
The Lady Bills settled into the offense often running deep into the shot clock before getting the shot they were looking for.
Their patience led to eight trips to the free throw line in the period, of which they converted five of the attempts. Cerasuolo added a pair of field goals to cap off an 11-point effort. Courtney Cirillo added six points, including a 4-for-6 effort from the line in the final stanza to her second-straight 14-point performance.
"When it got down to that six or seven point mark then we really executed and got it back up to around 12 so we didn't have to grind it out at the end," Derwin said.
The Lady Rams received scoring contributions from eight players with Woods-Walker leading the way with eight points, while McDonald added six.
"The kids try hard, play hard and give everything they have but we are not skilled offensively," Duemler said. "We are not good shooters. We are shooting 27 percent from two point range and our scoring is coming from 15 feet and in. We struggle offensively. We play extremely hard and play tough defense, but when you can't score the basket, you can't open up a lead and everybody is just going to hang around you. That is the situation we are dealing with right now."
Johnstown (7-7 overall), will the to the floor again tonight for its third game in as many nights, when it resumes Foothills Council play at Hudson Falls.
"Our goal is to win all three and we have two of them right now," Derwin said.
Johnstown 45, Amsterdam 30
Johnstown10 12 12 11 - 45
Amsterdam0 12 15 3 - 30
Anagnostopulos 1-0-2, Cerasulo 5-1-11, Cirillo 4-6-14, Heroth 1-1-3, O'Rourke 1-2-4, Stock 2-1-5, Swatt 2-0-6. Totals: 16-11-45.
Fedullo 1-2-4, Johnson 1-0-2, McDonald 2-2-6, Paris 2-0-4, Ramirez-Johnson 1-0-2, Ressell 1-0-2, Rouse 1-0-2, Woods-Walker 2-4-8. Totals: 11-8-30.
3-point goals: Amsterdam none; Johnstown 2 (Swatt 2).
Center State Conference
Dolgeville 49, Herkimer 45
HERKIMER - The Lady Blue Devils received double-double performances from Teresa VanOlst and Marisa Chavez to improve their record to 9-7 overall.
VanOlst connected for 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Chavez had 13 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Crystal Barton contributed nine point, four rebounds and two steals to the Dolgeville victory.
Dolgeville 49, Herkimer 45
Dolgeville13 6 12 18 - 49
Herkimer11 12 10 11 - 45
Reardon 1-0-2, Barton 2-3-9, VanOlst 6-2-15, Chavez 6-1-13, Bange 3-0-6, Mouyos 1-0-2, Fake 1-0-2. Totals: 20-6-49.
Delude 4-5-15, Grogan 3-1-7, Parks 2-0-4, Pine 0-1-1, Avery 4-1-9, Jory 4-1-9. Totals: 17-9-45.
3-point goals: Dolgeville 3 (Barton 2, VanOlst); Herkimer 2 (Delude).
Wells 49, Johnsburg 42
WELLS - Brittany Woodward and Sam Zemken delivered career high scoring performances in the Lady Indians' first win of the season.
Woodward led all scorers with her 29-point, six steal, six rebound performance, while Zemken connected for a career-best 14 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and two assists. Breanna Mayer added five rebounds and three points to the win.
MiKayla Glode led Johnsburg with her 16 point effort and Astasis Myler contributed 11 points.
Wells 49, Johnsburg 42
Awell 1-0-3, Denno 1-0-2, Square 1-0-2, Glode 8-0-16, Gahan 2-0-4, Millington 1-2-4, Myler 5-1-11. Totals: 19-3-42.
Woodward 13-0-29, Mayer 1-1-3, Page 0-1-1, Brenan 1-0-2, Zemken 6-2-14. Totals: 21-4-49.
3-point goals: Johnsburg 1 (Awell); Wells 3 (Woodward 3).