Amsterdam looks to end Averll Park’s title streak

Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler walks the sideline as the Lady rams go through a pre-game ritual before their game against Gloversville on Jan. 11. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

TROY — For the third time in as many years, the road to the Class A title runs through Averill Park for the Amsterdam girls basketball team.

The Lady Rams lost in the Class A championship to the Warriors in 2016 (68-63) and in 2017 (64-43).

“Our team is so different from last year’s. From a player’s perspective, playing the last two years against this opponent wont make much of a difference,” Amsterdam coach Eric Duemler said. “As a coaching staff, you learn specific things about your opponent and that can help in your preparation.”

Top-seeded Averill Park heads into today’s game at Hudson Valley Community College looking for its fifth-straight Class A title.

The Warriors have rolled in their two playoff games, posting a 68-31 victory over Hudson Falls in the quarterfinals and a 73-43 win over Gloversville in Tuesday’s semifinals.

Against ninth-seeded Hudson Falls, Emmalee Morgan scored 14 points to lead Averill Park, while Mallory Wood (13), Amelia Wood (12), Kelsey Wood (10) and Stephanie Jankovic (10) also hit double figures.

Jankovic scored 29 points in the semifinal win over fifth-seeded Gloversville, while Morgan had 14. Kelsey Wood added 12 points for the Warriors.

Jankovic is averaging 16.6 points per game to lead Averill Park, while Kelsey Wood is scoring at an 11.7 ppg clip.

Averill Park has won five straight games and its last loss was a 70-65 defeat at Saratoga Springs on Feb. 2.

“Averill Park is very good. They have size on top of size and a very good point guard who is the engine to that team,” Duemler said. “They play great physical defense and are good in transition. You must box them out on the defensive end and come with your best effort to have a chance.”

Amsterdam also has a pair of double-digit victories to its credit this postseason, with a 66-50 quarterfinal win over seventh-seeded South Glens Falls and a 55-36 win over third-seeded Holy Names in the semifinals.

Against South Glens Falls, Pritchard led the way with 22 points, while Jackie Stanavich (13 points), Elena Fedullo (11) and Lucia Liverio (10) also finished in double figures.

Antonia May scored 16 points to lead the Lady Rams in their semifinal win over Holy Names, while Stanavich had 14 points. Pritchard added 13 points for Amsterdam, which has won 10 straight games.

Pritchard leads the Lady Rams with a 23.5 ppg average, while Stanavich is averaging 12.3 ppg.

“Every team is different. This year’s group seems pretty balanced and approach each game the same way,” Duemler said. “Even with two freshmen starting, I haven’t seen a difference in them from regular-season games to our sectional games. That’s a credit to our seniors and returning players. We believe the next game we have is always the most important and its been that way since December.”

Both teams come into the game with 20-2 records and they also share four common opponents in South Glens Falls, Gloversville, Hudson Falls and Schenectady.

Averill Park is 4-0 against those teams, while Amsterdam went 7-1.

“The keys will be for us to play our style and be aggressive on both ends of the court,” Duemler said. “We have to battle and fight on every possession.”

Today’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:45 p.m.

The winner advances to the Class A regionals on March 10 at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy at noon to face either Section X champion Massena or the Section III champion. Jamesville-DeWitt and Indian River meet today at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse to decide the Section III crown.