Recorder file photo Amsterdam's Nina Fedullo, left, and Giuliana Pritchard battle Bishop Gibbons' Sara Delvecchio for a loose ball during their game last season.
By MICHAEL KELLY
The Amsterdam High School girls basketball program has kept its players busy and active throughout the spring and summer, with the Lady Rams' offseason coming to a successful close this past week.
"We're a committed team," said rising sophomore Brady Santiago. "We love basketball."
All the work during the past several months has Lady Rams head coach Eric Duemler excited about his varsity team's prospects following a 10-10 campaign in 2013-14 with an underclassmen-fueled roster.
"Once we get to November, we're not going to be behind the ball," said Duemler earlier this week. "We'll be ready to roll."
The Lady Rams' offseason of work began in April, when the program's players dispersed into a variety of AAU teams, with most playing for the Amsterdam Xplosion. Concurrently, the AHS athletes participated in an eight-week strength program.
Rising senior Caitlin Gannon said working with weights was nothing new for the members of the squad, but that the focused program was a major help for the team.
"I know, for me, it gave me a lot more confidence with my strength and the younger girls really showed improvement," she said.
Following the conclusion of the strength program, the Lady Rams competed in a summer league based in Schenectady. There, the AHS squad finished as the No. 2 team in the regular season and captured the postseason title with a win against Johnstown.
After a season in which the green Lady Rams took their lumps, the experience of playing a varsity schedule with such a young squad has started to pay off this summer.
"Since it's pretty much the same group of girls still, we work together really well," said Gannon. "Now that we're all back together again, we all know how each other play."
Another learning experience for the Lady Rams came at a team camp at Le Moyne College, where the AHS entry competed last week. There, the Lady Rams went 3-2 and won their division title.
"That was the best experience," said Santiago. "Every game, we learned how to move the ball around more."
Duemler said the spring's and summer's worth of action was invaluable for his program. After a 2013-14 season spent battling to stay at .500, the 2014-15 campaign should carry higher expectations.
"We'll still be young, but we've definitely improved," he said.
Following several months of non-stop work, the Lady Rams now get to spend the last few weeks of summer resting up.
"We're going to relax for a little bit, and then at the end of August, beginning of September, we'll have open gyms to get ready for the season," Santiago said.
"Then, it starts back up again and it goes crazy," Gannon said.
Follow MICHAEL KELLY on Twitter at twitter.com/ByMichaelKelly