Photo by Adam Shinder
Broadalbin-Perth’s Dante Calderone, left, and Amsterdam’s Louis Fedullo box out for a rebound as B-P’s Troy Monroe, right, looks on during Wednesday’s game at Broadalbin-Perth High School.
By ADAM SHINDER
For the Express
BROADALBIN — On the game clock, it took less than 15 seconds, but for everyone involved Wednesday night at Broadalbin-Perth High School, it was the defensive possession that seemed like it would never end.
Amsterdam was trying to consolidate a two-point lead in the closing seconds of Wednesday’s Foothills Council boys basketball game, but B-P’s Joey Ladipo came up with a steal to give the Patriots a chance to either force overtime or win the game in regulation.
But, Amsterdam still had three fouls to give before handing B-P an automatic trip to the line, and the Running Rams made good use of them. By the time the Rams were done fouling, B-P had just 4.3 seconds to run its final play. Dale Stanavich swamped B-P point guard Preston Taylor on the inbounds pass and while the ball ended up in the hands of Ladipo, his 35-foot heave at the buzzer didn’t come close as Amsterdam held on for a 55-53 win and booked its first-ever trip into the Foothills Council championship game.
Preston Taylor had 16 points and nine assists for B-P (10-8, 8-4), which was eliminated from the division title race with the loss. Taylor, a varsity player since eighth grade, surpassed 500 career assists Wednesday night for his decorated career. Ladipo added 14 points, Troy Monroe added 11 and JP Person scored eight for the Patriots.
“That was a true first-place game,” B-P coach Tucker Gifford said. “Both teams went neck-and-neck, toe-to-toe and unfortunately it fell the wrong way for us. That second half, we battled. Every time our backs were against the wall, we responded.”
Amsterdam came out of the gate hot, leading 8-0 in the game’s first 90 seconds and opening up a 14-3 advantage late in the first quarter, but B-P didn’t let Amsterdam pull away any more than that. The Patriots got within 25-21 at halftime, then rallied to finally tie the game at 40-40 on Ladipo’s 3-pointer just before the third quarter buzzer sounded.
B-P took its first lead of the game a minute into the fourth quarter when a Monroe 3-pointer made it 43-42. A nifty spin move and pull-up jumper by Taylor pushed the lead to three, but Aponte answered with a trey of his own to tie the game with 5:40 to play.
“We haven’t been in that situation a lot, but I like how we held together at the end,” Aponte said. “We were focused and we stuck together. It was a fantastic game.”
After the teams traded baskets, Fedullo’s jumper put the Rams in front and Aponte added another clutch 3-pointer to restore a five-point cushion. Monroe and Ladipo both hit 3-pointers in the closing minutes to pull the Patriots within two points and Ladipo came up with a huge steal to give B-P a chance, but Amsterdam was able to take advantage of its low foul total to help restrict the Patriots’ ability to get a good look for their final shot.
“It’s kind of amazing in a physical game like that they could only have three fouls,” Gifford said. “If I was in the NBA, I’d probably be getting fined right now for making a negative comment about the officials. It is what it is. I thought we had a chance to get a good look at the end, and we just couldn’t get a clean one off.”
In the junior varsity game, Amsterdam posted a 71-48 victory over Broadalbin-Perth.