By ADAM SHINDER
TOWN OF AMSTERDAM — The basketball gods were watching Friday afternoon when it came down to two Nina Fedullo free throws separating the Amsterdam Lady Rams from victory and defeat.
The charity stripe had been a source of frustration for Amsterdam all afternoon against Corcoran on the opening day of the Amsterdam Holiday College Showcase. During regulation, the Lady Rams were just 5 of 21 from the line — and Fedullo herself was 3 of 11.
So, of course, with 6.1 seconds left in overtime and the Lady Rams trailing by one, Fedullo was fouled in the act of shooting and sent to the line for the biggest free throws of the freshman’s young varsity career.
After an Amsterdam timeout, she sank her first — tie game. Then came a Corcoran timeout, but Fedullo didn’t flinch, putting the Lady Rams on top. A missed runner at the buzzer by Corcoran’s Brandi Fowler later, and Amsterdam was celebrating a heart-pounding 48-47 victory over the Lady Cougars.
“We’re not gonna have any easy games,” Amsterdam head coach Eric Duemler said. “Every game’s a learning lesson for our team. We had a lot of lessons positively that we can take with us. We’ll grow from the game, Nina will grow from the game. She’ll grow as a player, knocking down 5 of 6 (free throws in overtime) when she was about 4 for 50 going in.”
Fedullo scored a career-high 20 points for Amsterdam (2-4), but did her best work over the final two minutes and 31 seconds of regulation and the four-minute overtime, as she scored all 13 of the Lady Rams’ points during that stretch — five in regulation to help Amsterdam rally from a late deficit, then all eight in the extra session.
“We just needed to play hard defense and get a run,” Fedullo said.
Amsterdam led through most of the first three quarters, but the Lady Rams’ offense stalled in the fourth quarter as Corcoran took over, with the Lady Cougars opening a 40-36 lead on a pair of Fowler free throws with 1:13 to play.
A short Fedullo jumper pulled Amsterdam within two, and on Corcoran’s ensuing possession, the 5-foot-11 freshman deflected an inbounds pass, chased down the loose ball and converted the layup to tie the game with 27.3 seconds to play. Corcoran couldn’t convert on its final possession, forcing overtime.
In the see-saw extra session, Corcoran took the a 47-46 lead when Sidnaria Harriston made 1 of 2 at the line with 18.1 seconds left, but on the Lady Rams’ ensuing possession, Fedullo drove to the basket and was fouled by Kia Gayle, then endured a lot of waiting to sink her game-winning foul shots.
“I just had to get my momentum down,” Fedullo said. “I had to get it together.”
Eighth grader Guiliana Pritchard added 11 points for Amsterdam, while Fowler had 16 points and Harriston scored 13 for Corcoran. Much of that was overshadowed by a rough day at the free throw line for both teams, who combined to make just 25 of 66 total attempts — Amsterdam was 10 of 26, while Corcoran was just 15 of 40 for the game and 3 of 14 in overtime.
“We struggled the whole game,” Duemler said. “If we’d have made foul shots earlier, we wouldn’t have been in that situation.”