By Mike Zacchio
HEMPSTEAD — It took Irvington just eight seconds to score its first basket in Friday’s Class B state regional at Hofstra, a pace that didn’t change much as time wore on.
For the second straight season, Irvington defeated Section 11’s Southampton 62-41 in the regional finals to earn a trip to the state tournament where the Bulldogs will look to win their fourth straight state championship.
The state tournament will be held at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, March 15-17.
Senior Lexi Martins continued her stellar postseason, pacing the Bulldogs (21-2) with 25 points and 22 rebounds. The Lehigh-bound forward-center is now averaging 23.75 points per game and 20.25 rebounds per game in the four games beginning with the Section 1 semifinals at the Westchester County Center.
“I think we came in knowing what (Southampton) likes to do, and their tendencies,” she said. “Ms. Maher really emphasizes (videotape), and to focus and take it seriously, and I think it really helped us when we play.”
Irvington cancelled all classes Friday due to the snow. Martins said that not having school didn’t affect the team at all, and was a blessing in disguise.
“If anything it was better,” she said. “Just being able to catch up on sleep because it’s been so busy these last couple of days … was really a help for us.
The Bulldogs got out to an early 16-4 lead and cruised from there.
Marist-bound senior point guard Brittni Lai added 17 points and five steals for the Bulldogs, who, Maher says aim to play every second of every game.
“Nineteen hundred twenty seconds,” she said with a smile. “And I really believe you have to play all (of them). … You can’t play any less.”
Martins said the team has yet to play every second of a game this season, but Maher thinks the team did in its previous game.
“I thought that we did against Coleman (Catholic),” Maher said, referring to the team’s 86-49 win in the regional semifinals on Tuesday.
So, when it comes to next week’s state tournament, Maher’s game plan is simple.
“Play 1,920 seconds,” she said with a smile.
Photo by Carucha Meuse/The Journal News