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Irvington Girls Face State Federation Challenge

IRVINGTON, N.Y. – Before the Irvington Lady Bulldogs basketball team gets some much deserved rest, the newly-crowned three-time Class B state champions will travel to Albany this weekend for the New York State Federation Basketball Tournament.

With their recent conquest of Class B public school basketball teams capped by Saturday’s 69-42 victory over South Jefferson in the state final, the Bulldogs earned a spot in the Federation tournament, which could be considered the “real state championship” because it matches the four state champions from public, private, parochial and New York City schools for bragging rights as the best team in the state.

Irvington (23-1) will meet Catholic Schools Class B champion Cardinal O’Hara Friday at 11:45 a.m. and with a win will meet the winner of the other semifinal between Scholars Academy and defending Federation champion Long Island Lutheran Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m.

“We aren’t even thinking about playing next weekend,” Bulldogs senior Marley Giddins said as she enjoyed a welcome home pizza party at the Irvington Fire House Saturday night. “We’ll get back to practice next week and it will be a challenge to play all the top teams.”

Cardinal O’Hara, with an overall record of 21-4, defeated Preston (Bronx) 56-41 in last week’s State Class B Catholic Schools championship game to earn a spot in the Federation tournament.

The Bulldogs, who lost just once this season to Class AA Ossining, the New York State semifinalist, have been tested by the rigors of the postseason and are ready for one more crack at the Federation title that has evaded them the last two years. Irvington was edged by Long Island Lutheran 59-57 in last year’s final.

“These girls have become used to playing in different venues and traveling to play big games,” Bulldogs coach Gina Maher said. “This is another challenge. We’ve played in the Times Union Center (Albany) before. I think we should be prepared and ready to compete. This is a special group of young people.”

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