Amarah Streiff signs to play for Colgate, pursues record and milestone
By Tom Maguire, Associate editor
The “once in a blue moon” kid eclipsed her own coach’s scoring total and also grabbed a Division I roster spot.
Last season, when she averaged 22 points, Bishop Ludden basketball player Amarah Streiff surpassed Coach Carm Petrera’s career total for the Gaelic Knights. “She’s a generational kid,” the coach said. “It’s once in a blue moon you find a talent like Amarah Streiff. They’re rare. They are rare breeds.”
Next year, Streiff will play for the Division I Colgate University Raiders. But challenges await in her final hoop season at Ludden (she plays softball too). She needs 138 points to become the school’s all-time-leading scorer for both boys and girls basketball. She needs 326 points to join Section III’s 2,000 point club for girls basketball.
“Currently, there are only 10 female players who are a part of that club,” Coach Petrera said. “And I think to be part of the same conversation as Breanna Stewart (formerly at Cicero–North Syracuse, now in the WNBA), it’s a dream within a dream itself. For Amarah, it’s just an honor for her to have her name in that same company. For Bishop Ludden, it’s a name that will forever live on as a legacy.”
With a sheet cake waiting, Streiff signed her National Letter of Intent to play for Colgate on Nov. 9 in Ludden’s gym amid family (mother Stephanie Streiff and brother X’zavion Streiff), coaches, friends and fans.
Asked how she made Division I coming from a small school, she said she has to “work harder and grind harder than those public schools may have to.”
The Colgate coach, she said, “likes me being able to go in with the smaller people and be able to get those buckets but also turn around on the bigger girls and being able to shoot the 3 from the outside.”
Academically, Streiff said, she holds a “pretty high average about a 95 or above for all quarters.” She plans to study biology or biomedical sciences at Colgate and would “really like to be a pediatrician.”
Ludden Director of Athletics Gallagher Driscoll said Streiff has been a “great ambassador” who “has done everything the right way. Obviously, she’s been raised the right way.”
Ludden Principal Michael McAuliff said: “Amarah’s athletic ability is only surpassed by her as a person and as a student. … She’s top-notch in the classroom. She’s involved in campus ministry, and she obviously is an excellent athlete. … She is also extremely humble as well. … I don’t have a daughter, but if I did, she would be a blueprint for that.”
Alums are impressed
Videos projected onto a big screen showed congratulatory comments from several of Streiff’s former Ludden teammates:
- Sarah Boyea, ’22: “I can’t wait to see you play at Colgate. I know you’ll do great. Good luck.”
- Aurora Deshaies, ’19: “Good luck this season and make it the best year yet. I know you’ll do great. If you ever need anything, please feel free to reach out to me, I’m only a phone call away.”
- Karleigh Leo, ’19: “Have fun on your big day and I cannot wait to see all the things that you will accomplish in your college career.”
- Kaitlyn Kibling, ’22: “I’m so proud of you. I can’t wait to see what you do this season. Good luck. I love you.”
- Danielle Rauch, ’18: “Happy Signing Day. Such an exciting day for you and everyone that gets to celebrate with you. I’m so proud of you, and I’m looking forward to seeing you have a great year and a great career at Colgate. Enjoy it, soak it all in, it all becomes real today. You deserve it.”
Rauch, who went on to play for Michigan, holds the record Streiff is trying to break: 1,811 points. Coach Petrera had held the record (1,434) for 20 years before Rauch broke it.
Streiff has played on the varsity since seventh grade and has been a starter since eighth grade. Last season, her team won the Section III Class A basketball championship. “Unfortunately,” Coach Petrera said, “our season was cut short in the regional play against Averill Park, who went on to become state champions. They just had us in size.”
Array of talent
Was it inevitable for a player with all that time on the varsity to wind up in Division I?
“I don’t think it was inevitable,” Coach Petrera said. “I think that just attests to her work ethic and just the passion that she has for the game. We were fortunate enough to have players like Aurora Deshaies (New Haven) and Danielle Rauch and Karleigh Leo (Oswego State, MVP of a recent tournament). And then obviously Kaitlyn went on to play softball (UConn) and Sarah Boyea at Le Moyne playing soccer so we have athletes here. But to have a basketball athlete such as Amarah, it’s not heard of these days.”
And Coach Petrera said Amarah has a fan club, which was evident from the kids around her in the gym. But there is no big ego.
“She is the most humble kid I’ve ever met in my life,” the coach said. “She embraces life, she embraces family and she is just a down-to-earth kid.”
Deft with her memos too. Coach Petrera recalled that when Streiff passed her scoring total as a junior, “she made sure I knew via text: ‘Coach. I did it. I passed your record.’”