IRVINGTON, N.Y. Irvington High Schools girls basketball team has rolled through the playoffs thus far en route to the state semifinals.
On Friday, the Bulldogs face probably their toughest challenge so far.
Irvington will meet the Section 7 champions, Saranac Central, at 11:45 a.m. on Friday in the Class B state semifinals. Saranac is undefeated (22-0) and upset then No. 1 Watervliet, 45-33, in the regional finals.
But the Bulldogs made it so far for a reason. Alexis Martins, the 6-foot junior center, has been the anchor of this team all season as she provides both a dominating defensive presence in the paint and the ability to grab double-digit rebounds routinely.
Martins will need to continue her stellar play against Saranac, which absolutely dominated Watervliet on the glass, 52-30, in the regional finals. Stephanie Linder, a 5-foot-11-inch senior forward for Saranac, will more than likely match up with Martins.
Linder had 14 rebounds in the Section 7 championship game against Salmon River and then grabbed 16 boards, seven offensive, against the top ranked team in the state, Watervliet.
While the matchup in the paint will be crucial, Irvingtons high scoring offense and lockdown defense will be the other key factors in the game. The Bulldogs scored 68 points in the Section 1 finals, 79 in the regional semifinals and 74 points in the regional final. They held opponents in those games to 33, 36 and 41 points, respectively.
Martins is one of the top rebounders in the state, and the Bulldogs have been scoring at will in their past few games. They might not roll past Saranac, but they are likely to earn the win and advance to the state finals.
If they do, they will face the winner of the other semifinal game between Section 5s Aquinas and Section 3s South Jefferson.
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