ALBANY, N.Y. The Irvington girls basketball team would not be denied Saturday, mounting a thrilling comeback to overcome a 14-point deficit to defeat Long Island Lutheran 74-64 to win the New York State Federation Class B championship.
Reserve player Lauren Chafizadeh was the unlikely hero, scoring 12 crucial points in the third and fourth quarters as the Bulldogs erased Long Islands 37-32 halftime lead, outscoring the defending Federation champions 42-25 in the second half. Long Island Lutheran defeated Irvington 59-57 in last years Federation final.
We all worked super hard in practices to face Lutheran in the finals and worked as hard as we could in the game for 32 minutes, Chafizadeh said. We knew it wasn't going to be easy and (Coach Gina) Maher prepared us for today the whole season.
The Bulldogs, who won their third straight New York State Public Schools Class B title last week, finished their season with a record of 25-1 and won their second Federation championship in the last three years. The only loss of the season came at the hands of Class AA (large school) Ossining during the regular season.
Brittni Lai led all Bulldogs' scorers with 18 points.
Irvingtons only graduating starting player Marley Giddins was named the tournaments Most Valuable Player. Giddins had 10 of her 16 points in the first half and teammate Lexi Martins had eight to help keep the Bulldogs close after by as many as 14 points early. Martins finished with 16 points. Coach Gina Mahers team has a record of 80-4 over the last three seasons.
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