By MICHAEL KELLY
Recorder Sports Staff
Coming off a rough one Friday night at La Salle Institute, the Amsterdam Running Rams look to bounce back tonight against the Crusaders of Catholic Central.
When the Rams visited the Crusaders in early December, the two clubs played a relatively even first half before Catholic Central buried Amsterdam in the second half on the strength of a superb performance from Anthony Mack.
That night, the Crusaders' freshman star scored 30 points in Catholic Central's 80-52 victory. When the two teams tangle tonight at Amsterdam High School, the Rams' main objective will be to slow down Mack, who is averaging a Big 10-best 21.8 points per game.
The Rams' leading scorers when the two teams first played were Luis Laboy and Alonzo Martin, who both contributed nine points. Eric Robertshaw and Robert Sherlock were right behind the team's top scorers with eight points apiece.
Game time tonight is 7:45 p.m.
A statistical peculiarity
While little went right for the Rams in their 85-64 loss to LSI this past week, the Rams did enjoy their best 3-point shooting night of the season.
AHS made 7 of 12 (52.9 percent) of its shots from deep Friday night, as AJ Centi (3 of 5) and Luis Laboy (2 of 5) each hit multiple 3-pointers for the Rams.
For the season, Amsterdam has made 27.2 percent of its 3-point attempts. Prior to Friday night's shooting exploits, the Rams' best night shooting the deep shot came against Mekeel Christian Academy in a 95-80 loss. That night, Amsterdam made 40.9 percent of its treys.
Following tonight's hosting of Catholic Central (5-6, 4-5), Amsterdam (2-8, 2-7) will travel to first-place Christian Brothers Academy (9-2. 8-1) for a Friday tilt in Colonie.
When the Brothers and the Rams first played this season, Amsterdam gave CBA fits in the first half with its relentless crashing of the offensive glass. The Rams grabbed 14 of the 36 available rebounds on CBA's defensive end of the court, allowing AHS to stay in the contest through halftime.
But, like in so many games this season, Amsterdam struggled in the third quarter that night, as CBA outscored the Rams, 20-5, in the post-halftime stanza. On the season, opponents have outscored the Rams by 6.6 points in the third quarter of games this season.
Crucial stretch ahead
With sectionals starting in just more than a month, the Rams need to add some wins to its resume for when the Class A seedings take place -- and Amsterdam's span of games starting next week is the club's best opportunity to get them.
Following an off night a week from today, the Rams will play -- in order -- Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons, Albany, Fonda-Fultonville and Bishop Maginn. Those four games represent Amsterdam's easiest remaining contests; the Rams beat the two private schools on the road when they first met, while AHS lost to Albany at home in a tight one and has not yet played F-F this season.