By Tom Pedulla –
The Irvington boys’ basketball team adopted the theme “All In” for the season. And the coaches and players were, indeed, all in.
Dedication that extended to participation in a summer league and regular work in the weight room led to a breakout 17-3 regular season under coach Scott Brennen after 8-12 and 12-8 records in his first two seasons.
“As coaches we definitely did see growth in the program,” Brennen said. “We have kids who really buy in.”
Juniors Colby Martins and Sidney Thybulle shared the captain’s role with senior Jayden Grant. Martins, a 5-9 guard who plays at warp speed, averaging 19.5 points per game during the regular season. He was named the league’s Most Valuable Player.
Thybulle, a 6-6 center, developed into a strong inside presence that offered a perfect complement to Martin’s soft outside shooting touch. He averaged 14 points and 14 rebounds in helping the Bulldogs to a second seed in the Section 1 Class B Tournament.
Then there is senior guard Chris Friedlander, whose immense contribution cannot be measured statistically. If there is a more tenacious defender than Friedlander in the area, it would be hard to find him or her.
“He brings toughness not many kids have,” Brennen said. “He’s a tremendous competitor, a gutsy kid who’s a winner. He’s had influences on games without scoring the basketball.”
Friedlander marvels at the strides the program made.
“From what it was two years ago,” he said, “it’s incredible where we’ve come as a team.”
The all-in theme suits Irvington because players formed a tight-knit group.
“We have great relationships,” Martins said. “We love each other. We play hard for each other. We trust each other. That is why we are so successful.”