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IRVINGTON, N.Y. — At all levels of basketball, the value of a dominant post player can't be overstated. On Wednesday at Irvington High School, Bulldogs junior Alexis Martins was the living proof.
The 6-foot junior power forward put up a Dwight Howard-esque stat line — 22 points, 17 rebounds, two steals and seven blocks — to lead Irvington past Dobbs Ferry, 77-33, on Senior Day.
But Martins wasn't interested in dissecting her numbers following the titanic effort. Instead, she modestly ceded the spotlight in favor of the seniors.
“It's their last regular season home game on our court and they do so much for us on the court and off the court,” Martins said. “We really wanted to win this game for them.”
Irvington (17-1) wasted little time setting the tone, jumping out to a 23-6 first-quarter lead. Martins poured in eight points during the opening quarter as the Bulldogs shot 59 percent from the field.
Star junior point guard Brittni Lai triggered the fast start, working in unison with Martins to spark the transition game. Martins pulled down defensive rebounds and fed precise outlet passes to Lai, who showed Jeremy Lin-like court awareness to setup her teammates.
Lai, who notched 15 points, seven assists and six steals, also worked the pick-and-roll to perfection, finding Martins on a handful of cuts to the hoop.
“(Lai) is awesome,” Martins said. “A lot of people see her play and can see how awesome she is, but not all the spectators know the pressure that she has off and on the court as the point guard. (Coach Gina Maher) asks a lot of her with all the offenses she has to run and dictate. To keep a team full of players in line and run those offenses is amazing.”
The Bulldogs stepped off the gas a bit in the second quarter, allowing Dobbs Ferry to creep back into the game. The Eagles (14-5) matched Irvington with 11 second-quarter points to cut the deficit to 34-17 at the half.
Chrissy Whitty led Dobbs Ferry with a team-high nine points, while teammates Alyssa Chipelo (seven points) and Kana Kihara (six points) also chipped in.
Irvington upped the intensity in the third quarter to put the game out of reach, outscoring Dobbs Ferry 43-16 in the second half.
According to Bulldogs star senior guard/forward Marley Giddins, the inspiration to finish strong was born out of last year's heartbreaking Federation loss to Long Island Lutheran, which saw Irvington blow a 15-point fourth-quarter lead.
“That's been a driving force,” said Giddins, who had 15 points, four rebounds, two steals and three assists. “That's what we think of when we know that we have to finish out games. We had a huge lead heading into the fourth quarter and we just lost it. Whenever we are winning, we think back to that game and know we have to keep going hard because you never have it till it's over.”
For Irvington's seniors — Lucy Jones (two points) Jamie Gelardi (five points) and Giddins — the end is nearing. The Bulldogs, who are in search of their third straight NYS Class B title, will now be charged with sending them off in style.
Dobbs Ferry 6 11 9 7 33
Irvington 23 11 22 21 77
Dobbs Ferry FG: 12/43 | 3PT FG: 2/13 | FT: 7/14
Irvington FG: 31/60 | 3PT FG: 3/11 | FT: 12/19
Follow Isaac Cass on Twitter @MSGV_Icass