Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fitzgerald has plenty in reserve; AP girls ready for Feds

Averill Park senior Amanda Fitzgerald (right) chases down a loose ball as Colonie's Jaclyn Welch is in close pursuit during a Suburban Council game at Averill Park earlier this season. (Photo by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Amanda Fitzgerald, a senior who serves dual roles on Averill Park's girls basketball team as Brittany O'Shea's understudy and the Warriors' defensive specialist, does not often factor in the scoring. But that doesn't mean she isn't a crucial piece of the puzzle.

“She has the ability to come off the bench and not skip a beat,” said Sean Organ, Averill Park's head coach. “She's ready to go. She is another one of the unsung heroes on this basketball team. She is one of the big reasons why we're here.”

The captain of Averill Park's lacrosse team, Fitzgerald brings a level of toughness to the basketball court as well. She's scored six or more points in a game just three times this season, but she is Organ's first choice to slow down an opposing guard with superior speed and quickness.

She also spells O'Shea when Averill Park's primary point guard runs into foul trouble or simply needs a breather.

“There is something special to be said about Amanda for accepting her role and understanding what it is that she can give to our team,” Organ said. “She's been our defensive specialist for the past two years in a sense that there have been times where she actually plays along side Brittany, because defensively she brings a lot.”

For the full story on Fitzgerald, make sure to pick up a copy of The Record on Friday.

Averill Park senior Amanda Fitzgerald dribbles away from Catholic Central's Ashley Creighton during a non-league game played at South Colonie High School in December 2009. (Photo by J.S. Carras - The Record).

One interesting note about the Averill Park team this season is just how important the fans - the Gold Mine - are to their performance on the floor. Averill Park fans packed Hudson Valley Community College during the Warriors' sectional run, traveled to Syracuse and Potsdam for regional games and returned to Troy for the NYS Final Four.

They'll also be playing hooky on Friday to watch the team in Glens Falls.

Well, not really. The school district decided to give all high school students a half day rather than deal with a mass exodus due to "the basketball bug."

Visit the school website by clicking here for more information on that news.

"I have a feeling this is being realized by the kids just how special this is," Organ said. "I still think they're figuring it out. The high school is closing early Friday on a half day schedule. Teachers, friends and people that have been following us over the last part of the season, they all want to go up there. And I think to our kids, that's important. They're helping them understand the significance."

Nine Averill Park seniors will wrap up their high school basketball career this weekend in Glens Falls, win, lose or draw.

"We don't want it to come," Fitzgerald said. "We don't want the last practice to happen and we don't want to accept that it's the end."

“Whether we win or lose, it's going to be an emotional time to say goodbye to these guys,” Organ said. “I hope it's a lot of smiles and I'm sure it will be, but this particular group of players has done so much for their community and done so much for girls basketball, I don't think that they can be replaced.
“We're not going to try to replace them,” he continued. “We're going to remember them for what they were, which is champions.”

"I have to believe these kids, as special as they are, won't realize how big this is until years from now," said Organ. "When they look back and see, wow, a lot of teams don't win state titles and it's even more rare to compete for a Federation title. I think years from now it's really going to register with them. You saw them today, they're really loose and think that's important."

As far as the matchup with Medgar Evers, we don't know too much. Organ has been unable to get video on them and is relying on verbal scouting reports. They're fast and athletic and really unlike any team Averill Park has seen up to this point.

For Medgar Evers' team page, click here.

You may be wondering who, exactly, Medgar Evars was. You likely learned about him in US History class. For his wikipedia page, click here.

I haven't been able to find much on St. Anthony's online. Here is their school page.

MATCHUP: Averill Park (24-1) faces New York City's Public School Athletic League champion Medgar Evers (23-2) in a Class A Federation Tournament of Champions semifinal game at 1L30 p.m. Friday at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
The winner plays the City's Catholic High School Athletic Association champion, St. Anthony's of Melville, Saturday in the title game at 12:15 p.m.
TICKETS: $10, available at the door, at or calling the Civic Center box office, 518-798-0202.

No., Name, Pos., Yr., Hgt., Ppg.
10, Brittany O’Shea, PG, Sr., 5-8, 6.6
3, Michaela Ottati, SG, Sr., 5-10, 9.1
13, Katie Duma, G, Sr., 5-11, 16.2
25, Brooke O’Shea, F, Soph., 5-9, 7.2
23, Katie Hawes, F, Sr., 5-10, 3.1

No., Name, Pos., Yr., Ppg.
1, Jasmin Robinson, G, Sr., 16.8
2, Camera Miley, G, Frosh., 12.4
3, Ashley Castle, G/F, Jr., 10.4
0, Nandi Pyle, F, Sr., 9.7
14, Verdine Warner, C, Sr., 6.9

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