Reporter Jared Diamond covered Irvington’s win over White Plains in the day’s other semfinal. Interestingly, it played out like the Briarcliff-Kennedy game, with the favorite struggling long enough to irritate itself, but ultimately playing well enough to win handily.
Here is Jared’s story.
WHITE PLAINS — Irvington girls basketball coach Gina Maher wouldn’t repeat
exactly what she said to her team in the huddle throughout the second half.
Not using the same words, at least.
When asked to divulge the tone of her message, though, a wisp of a sly smile
crept across her face.
“Oh, I yelled at ‘em,” Maher said with a sheepish chuckle. “I did, I yelled
at ‘em hard.”
Maher could laugh now, because Irvington withstood a late White Plains
charge Wednesday to come away with a 67-55 victory in the Slam Dunk
Tournament at the Westchester County Center. Brittni Lai scored a game-high
27 points, and Alexis Martins compiled a triple-double with 16 points, 20
rebounds and 10 blocks.
But despite Maher’s playful attitude afterward, she knows the game will
serve as a crucial teaching tool as the season progresses. The Bulldogs let
a 24-point halftime lead dwindle to 12, turning what looked like a rout into
a surprisingly competitive affair.
Though Irvington ultimately prevailed, the Bulldogs realizes they cannot
afford to play a sloppy half against top competition, starting with
Briarcliff today in the tournament final at 2:15 p.m.
“It was a subconscious thing, but we got lazy, and we weren’t focusing,”
said Marley Giddins, who finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds. “We’ll
definitely think back to this game, because it reminds us we can never let
In the first half, the Bulldogs demonstrated why they won the state and
Federation championships last season.
Lai immediately set the tone, connecting on consecutive 3-pointers in the
first quarter and dominating on offense throughout the day.
Lai, who transferred from Edgemont before the season, had never played a
high school game at the County Center. Wednesday marked her official,
“Welcome to Irvington” moment.
“I just wanted to get the score up and get everybody calm and into the
flow,” she said.
Lai and Giddins both admitted the team eased up a little in the second half
because they thought they had the game won. White Plains outscored Irvington
42-30 in the second half but could not overcome the deficit.
Afterward, Maher wanted her girls to feel happy about the victory but
stressed the importance of playing hard for a full 32 minutes.
Then she allowed herself to dream a little.
“If we can play the way we played in the first half today all the
time,” Maher said with a grin, “we’ll be just fine.”