By MICHAEL KELLY
Recorder Sports Staff
SCHENECTADY -- After a rocky start to Tuesday's Big 10 boys basketball game with the Schenectady Patriots at the Pat Riley Sports Center, Amsterdam Running Rams senior forward Zach Dufel's early 3-pointer knotted the score.
Then, things got much rockier for the visitors.
The Patriots scored the game's next nine points, the first of many runs for the home team, as Amsterdam lost in its regular-season finale, 76-52.
"They came out and they didn't miss a lot," said Amsterdam junior Andrew Rouse. "They were awesome."
For Schenectady, it was a welcome finish to their Big 10 campaign and a satisfying win on an emotional night. Honored in the team's pregame ceremony for Senior Night was Eddie Stanley, the Schenectady basketball player who was fatally shot two years ago. Stanley would have been a senior this season for the Patriots.
"We've had games where we've had the pep and we've had games where we didn't have the pep," said Schenectady head coach Eric Loudis. "But, tonight, with it being our Senior Night and not having Eddie Stanley here for his Senior Night, that had a lot to contribute to the energy level for the boys."
In the win, Schenectady senior Darius Macon starred with 12 points, 12 rebounds, six blocked shots and six assists. Clarence Stanford added 20 points, while Randall Symes contributed 13 points and 11 rebounds.
While Macon was a force on the defensive end, it was the Patriots' ball movement and sweet shooting -- the team made seven 3-pointers -- that was too much for the Rams.
"It seems like every team we play, they drain every 3 in our face," said Dufel, who led the Rams with 15 points. A.J. Centi, Andrew Druziak and Robbie Sherlock each added seven points, while Rouse had five.
Playing on the second night of a back-to-back stretch -- the Rams lost in Troy Monday night, 84-40, on the Flying Horses' Senior Night -- Amsterdam looked a step slow Tuesday night.
"I think [the back-to-back games] had a lot do with this," said AHS head coach Tony Orapello. "It was a tired day, but I thought we'd put up more of a fight than we did."
"It's tough playing back-to-back games," said Dufel. "We didn't have a lot of energy, I thought. We came out flat."
After the Patriots' (9-9, 9-7) 9-0 run early in the first quarter, Amsterdam (4-14, 3-13) righted its ship enough to trail by just 10 points after the first stanza. But the Rams' deficit quickly grew to 18 points in the second quarter and, despite a quick burst that brought the Rams' to within 12 points midway through the stanza, Amsterdam never was able to mount a serious challenge.
"It was hard for us to get back into the game after we were down 10 early," Rouse said.
Now, Amsterdam waits to find out where it will be seeded in the Section II Class A playoffs. Orapello said he wants his team to be able to take its experience playing Class AA teams in the Big 10 all season and put it to use in the postseason.
"We have the potential to do a lot of things," said Orapello. "We want all this work playing against this type of competition to pay off."
That's the attitude his team is taking, too.
"We can't go in (to sectionals) and think that things are going to be easier," said Dufel. "We've got to play hard and hopefully get some wins."
"It's a whole new season," added Rouse. "We've got to forget about this past season, and focus on practice and knocking some teams off."