By MICHAEL KELLY
Recorder Sports Staff
With just three games to go in the regular season, the Amsterdam Running Rams are looking to scratch out at least one more victory to add to their resume before next week's sectional seeds are determined.
Tonight's 6:30 p.m. contest at Amsterdam High School likely serves as the Rams' best chance to do just that.
Fresh off their win Saturday, the Rams (4-11, 3-10) play host tonight to Bishop Maginn (7-8, 6-7), a squad Amsterdam defeated the first time through the Big 10 slate, 71-66. In that game, head coach Tony Orapello's squad used a 28-13 run in the third quarter to pull away from the Golden Griffins.
But while Amsterdam played one of its best game of the season that night in Albany -- the Rams' Luis Laboy scored 24 points and Robbie Sherlock added 18 -- Griffins head coach Rich Gilooly did not have his biggest difference-maker -- 6-foot-5 Derrick Thomas Jr. -- at his disposal. After the loss, Gilooly said he thought the Rams' offense had taken advantage of Thomas' omission that night from the lineup, as guys like Laboy and Sherlock had their way at the rim.
Whether the Rams can duplicate their result from late December tonight in Amsterdam will heavily hinge on how much of a factor Thomas plays against the undersized Rams.
Stats to remember
When the Rams and the Griffins first played, Amsterdam had its way on offense -- especially in the second half, when the squad scored 49 points in 16 minutes. For the game, the Rams made 27 of 54 shots from the field. ... Laboy's 24 points came on 11-of-18 shooting, while Sherlock was 6 of 7 from the field. ... AHS senior Zach Dufel added 13 points. ... Taking advantage of Thomas' absence, the Rams out-rebounded the Griffins, 42-36.
As tough as the Griffins might be tonight, it gets uglier for the Rams Friday night when the club makes its annual visit to Troy.
Head coach Richard Hurley's Flying Horses (13-2, 12-1) enter tonight's showdown with CBA (14-2, 13-1) with an eight-game winning streak, which started Jan. 4 -- when the Horses beat the Rams, 80-49, at AHS.
Despite that 31-point loss, the Rams should take some positives from that game into Friday's contest. In that first meeting, Dufel played only four minutes because of an ankle injury; the Rams' were down just five points early in the third quarter; and, for the first half, Amsterdam dominated Troy on the boards, 21-15.