By MICHAEL KELLY
Recorder Sports Staff
TOWN OF AMSTERDAM -- For the third straight game, no member of the Amsterdam Running Rams scored in double figures and the team failed to outscore its opponent for a single quarter.
But, slowly, things are starting to take shape for the Rams.
While the scoreboard from Friday night's 69-33 loss to the Christian Brothers Academy Brothers was no friend to the Rams, the club was able to take some positives from its third loss in a row to start the season.
Even Amsterdam head coach Tony Orapello allowed that some good came from Friday's lopsided loss at Amsterdam High School.
"They are starting to pick it up," Orapello said, referring to the up-tempo style of play he wants to instill with his program.
What Orapello wants the Rams to become was on display in the first couple minutes of Friday's Big 10 game. For the opening two minutes and change, Amsterdam forced CBA to play its game, as the Brothers suffered through an opening two minutes in which it scored just a single point and committed several turnovers against the AHS pressure.
"In the beginning, we came out confident, actually believing we could win," said Amsterdam point guard Billy Carr. "We tried to set the tone from the jump."
But the Rams' tone did not include scoring many points of their own. While CBA languished through an opening couple minutes of one-point basketball, Amsterdam scored just two points themselves, as the Rams were unable to take advantage of early opportunities to jump out to a lead of any consequence.
"We've got to somehow generate offense," said Orapello. "We get shots and we just can't make them. We don't finish. It's a mental thing."
While CBA used an 11-0 run midway through the first quarter to gain separation from the Rams, even the rest of the stanza was not a complete loss to Amsterdam, as the team stayed competitive and trailed by nine at the first break.
"That was a big stepping stone for us, that quarter," said senior forward Robbie Sherlock. "But in the second quarter we kind of let it go a bit."
CBA (3-0, 3-0) led by 19 points at halftime, but then exploded in the third quarter, outscoring the Rams (0-3, 0-3) 20-5 in the period. Brothers head coach Dave Doemel said Amsterdam's zone defenses threw his club, the four-time defending Section II Class AA champions, off for the first half.
"At the half, we went over some things about it, and we got a good push [in the third quarter]," he said. "But that's a sign of an inexperienced team. We're not there yet, either. We need to get better at recognizing on our own what's going on when we're on the floor."
For CBA, Nick Marini and Greg Stire each scored nine points to lead the team, while Drew Brundige and Daniel Owens each added eight for the well-balanced Brothers.
Amsterdam's Sherlock led the Rams with eight points and four rebounds. Only playing the final nine minutes of the game, junior Alonzo Martin was a fury of activity, scoring six points and grabbing three rebounds -- and committing three fouls.
"We didn't give him much time today ... but he'll be getting more opportunities," said Orapello. "He showed us something."
Next, the Rams are hoping to show something as a collective unit when it returns to the court Tuesday at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons (0-3, 0-3).
"The first three games were really tough. Now, we've got Gibbons and they're going to be tough because they always are," said Sherlock. "But we've got to take the good and make it better, and take the bad and make it better; we need to improve everything. We can, and it's a slow process because this is a building year. But, if we play as a team, I think we'll be fine -- eventually."