Dave Wojeski/For The Recorder Amsterdam's Kaitlyn Devine tries to control the ball as she is covered by two Schalmont defenders during their game on Thursday night.
By ADAM SHINDER
TOWN OF AMSTERDAM -- The tears started from Nina Fedullo in frustration when she fouled out late in the first overtime. That was joined by Kaitlyn Devine when she picked up her fifth and final foul in the second extra session.
When it ended, and the Amsterdam Lady Rams found themselves on the wrong end of a 62-58 double overtime decision Thursday against the Schalmont Lady Sabres on Senior Night for the AHS girls basketball team, the emotion flooded over.
"There's not a dry eye in the locker room," Amsterdam head coach Eric Duemler said. "They love each other, care about each other. They wanted it, and all we can do is learn from this game."
In a roller coaster game, the Lady Rams (8-9) led for nearly the entirety of regulation before late 3-pointers from Schalmont's Ryanne Olsen and Rachel Strijek tied the game to force overtime. In the first extra session, Schalmont quickly opened up a six-point lead, but Amsterdam pegged it back to tie the game when Devine drove for a layup with 8.6 seconds to go.
That led to the second overtime, when Schalmont point guard Maddie Saccocio knifed her way to seven of her eight points -- including the go-ahead free throws with 36.1 seconds to go.
With both Fedullo and Devine -- who combined for 36 points -- unavailable in the waning moments, the Lady Rams found themselves out of answers.
"(Saccocio) has 20 points on the year, but she had [seven] critical ones in OT that put them over the top," Duemler said. "It was just too much for us to overcome."
Yet, despite the tears and the emotional drain of the loss, senior forward Monica Rouse was able to put a little bit of a silver lining on the night as a chance for the Lady Rams to fix things with the seeding meeting for the Section II Class A playoffs less than a week away.
"That was a really tough loss, but the only thing it can do is help us going on from here," Rouse said. "It's actually probably a good thing for us, because we can come back stronger and be better in practice and fix the problems that aren't working."
Fedullo set a career high with 25 points for Amsterdam, but fouled out with the Lady Rams trailing 52-50 late in the first overtime. A Devine free throw cut that lead to one before the Lady Rams were forced to foul Olsen -- who led three Schalmont players in double figures with 17 points -- with 14.6 seconds to play.
Olsen made her first free throw, but missed the second, and Amsterdam's Caitlin Gannon pulled down the rebound and flicked a pass to Devine, who barreled down the floor for a game-tying layup with 8.6 seconds to go.
"Nobody gave up, both teams worked hard. That was a fun game to be a part of," Schalmont coach Jeff Van Hoesen said.
In the second overtime, a pair of driving layups from Saccocio helped the Lady Sabres take a 58-56 lead with 1:05 to play, but Devine tied the game with 39.9 seconds to go when she converted a stolen in-bounds pass into a layup.
Four seconds later, however, Devine fouled Saccocio to end the Lady Ram's night, and the Schalmont point guard hit both her free throws to put the Lady Sabres on top. Gannon had a chance to tie the game on Amsterdam's next trip down the floor, but her contested runner was too strong and Olsen iced the game with a pair of late free throws.
"It was a war of attrition," Duemler said. "Effort from both teams, playing deeper into their benches than I think they probably wanted to in a tight game like that."
Schalmont only led once during regulation -- at 3-2 early in the first quarter -- and trailed by as many as 11 points before the hot shooting of Olsen, Strijek and Tralyn Randle fueled a late rally.
"We've got shooters, and if we're cold it looks ugly, but when we're hot, things look good," Van Hoesen said.
In addition to Fedullo's career-high 25, Devine added 11 points before fouling out and Rouse chipped in seven points. While his team was physically and emotionally exhausted following the game, Duemler termed the loss as, "Not the worst thing in the world that can happen," heading into Tuesday's regular-season finale at Bishop Maginn.
"We'll be able to reference this game, because when you're in the locker room and everybody's sad, that's a sectional game," he said. "When you lose in sectionals, that's what happens. We can reference that, and if they bring the kind of energy and effort they had tonight, I'll take that every day of the week."
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