Fundraiser to bring out area's best hoop talent


TOWN OF AMSTERDAM -- Friday's basketball action at Amsterdam High School will provide a little something for everyone -- as well as raise some money for the senior class.

Starting at 5 p.m., there will be three games for spectators to come enjoy. First, members of the AHS boys varsity basketball team will take on a squad of faculty members; next, a women's alumni game will hit the court; and, the night will end with a men's alumni game.

"Hopefully we get a good turnout so that we can raise some money for the kids," said Matt Vasilow, who will play in both the faculty and male alumni game, and recruited the players for the alumni games.

Admission to the games is $3, concessions will be available and there will be several raffles. Rosemary Cotugno, the AHS 2014 class advisor, said the night's proceeds will go toward the Senior Ball, which will be held in early June. Raffles for the night include a 50/50, tickets to an Italian dinner and tickets to a New York Yankees baseball game.

MaryLynn Rouse, who is organizing Friday's event, said the goal is to raise $1,000.

AHS junior Andrew Druziak said that the majority of the 2013-14 varsity boys basketball team will be playing Friday when the Running Rams will take on a faculty team that includes T.J. Czeski, captain Doug Edick, Eric Duemler, Tim Jones and more.

Duemler, the AHS girls varsity basketball coach, said his club plans to show no mercy.

"Faculty plans on winning this game," he said. "We're wondering which of the stars off the boys varsity team comes up sick with the flu or something and no-shows."

Duemler also said the faculty team has not practiced for the game.

"The only thing we've been doing is talking a lot of trash," he said.

If anyone gets hurt in the game, the faculty team has a special weapon: athletic trainer Carla Pasquarelli is on the roster.

"She'll have to be the first sub out whenever anyone gets injured -- especially with our team," Duemler said.

Druziak said the Rams have played against several of the faculty team members in the past and know what to expect.

"Hopefully we have some refs there because they sure like to play some aggressive defense against us," said Druziak. "If we have some refs there, we'll have a shot at beating them."

AHS boys varsity basketball head coach Tony Orapello is listed on Friday night's faculty roster. When asked if he expected to play in the game, Orapello laughed.

"Are you kidding me?" he said.

In the female alumni game, at least a dozen former players are expected to compete. Katie Caddell, Mandy Davey, Brittany Stahura and Allie Zabo are some of the players involved in the game.

"A lot of those girls are still pretty athletic, pretty active, so I think that's going to be a really good game," Rouse said.

"All those girls are very good basketball players and I know some of them still play in a women's league in Colonie," Duemler said.

Stahura, who recently wrapped up a collegiate career at Bryant University, said she was happy to get to come back to AHS and help the 2014 senior class.

"It will definitely be fun to come back and see people and have a good time," she said. "I just want to see everyone again and play back on that court."

Zabo, a senior at Le Moyne College, echoed that thought, saying the chance to play with an old teammate like Stahura is appealing.

"It's going to be awesome to see her," Zabo said.

What's not great is thinking about how quickly time has flown by since she graduated from AHS in 2010.

"It's just weird to even hear 'alumni game,'" she said. "It's weird to think it's been four years since I played a real game. It's crazy."

In the men's alumni game, players include Charlie Beekman, Matt Ossenfort -- Montgomery County's executive -- and Andrew Robertshaw.

"It'll be nice to be back on the high school court again with the guys," Vasilow said.

The roster also includes three Grecos -- Chris, Frank and Franki -- and four Johnsons in Antonio, Dino, Marco and Mark.

"We've got the whole crew out there," said Marco Johnson, whose sister Cristiana is playing in the female alumni game.

Marco Johnson said he does not know how the rest of the roster will be split up for the game, but that he knows brother Dino is on his team, while brother Antonio and father Mark are on the opposing club.

"They made it much more serious by splitting us up," said Marco Johnson. "Now, it's going to be like we're in the backyard again."

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