Irvington News
Rivertowns Sports

Irvington Girls End Season with Class B Final Loss to Putnam Valley

• Bookmarks: 122

March 8, 2020

By Tom Pedulla

Members of the girls’ basketball team in Irvington, accustomed to shedding tears of joy in the postseason, blinked back tears of sadness after bowing to Putnam Valley, 52-49, in the Section 1 Class B final on March 7.

The Bulldogs were coming off a sixth state championship under legendary coach Gina Maher. They closed a season of tremendous adversity with a 17-7 record. Abby Conklin, the stellar senior point guard, missed significant time with a severely sprained ankle. Grace Thybulle, an imposing junior center, was sidelined for part of the schedule with a concussion.

Although Conklin and Thybulle returned to health in time to gain All-Tournament honors, the Bulldogs did not click the way they needed to against a Putnam Valley powerhouse that earned the Gold Ball at the County Center with a 20-3 record.

“We had incredible adversity this year. We played less than half of our games with all of our starters,” Maher said. “They kept fighting. They kept coming back.”

The Bulldogs trailed 30-23 at halftime and they did, indeed, fight back. They drew to within 39-37 when Conklin nailed a three-pointer just before the end of the third quarter. They pulled even three times in the final quarter, the last time at 44-44 on Thybulle’s free throw with 3:42 left.

In the end, Putnam Valley’s defense, particularly in its ability to deny Thybulle the ball inside, was too good and its outside shooting too precise. “They were shooting from NBA range,” said Conklin.

Maher called for a timeout with 11.7 seconds left and her team behind by what proved to be the final score. The Bulldogs never got a good look at what would have been a game-tying three-pointer to possibly force overtime.

“We just couldn’t execute on offense. We have so much offensive potential and it didn’t come to fruition,” Thybulle said. “There were definitely nerves. We could have executed a lot better and we could have scored a lot more and it was still close.”

Maher’s teams typically make improvements throughout the season and enter the playoffs with momentum that proves to be unstoppable. This team, with all of the adversity it encountered, never found its best stride.

“Coming to the finals with everyone healthy, you’re feeling good but it’s hard coming together when we’ve been so discombobulated and faced so much all season,” Thybulle said.

Maher credited Putnam Valley, which reached the final for the first time since 2007 and secured its first sectional title. “Putnam Valley is a really good basketball team,” she said. “They can shoot the eyes out of the ball and they’re well-coached.”

Thybulle should rank among the premier players in Westchester as a senior. She quickly seized on the defeat as inspiration to return to sectional supremacy.

“I’ve been on this team since eighth grade and I’ve never known anything but winning the section. I never had that feeling of what it is like to lose,” she said. “But nothing motivates the way losing does. It’s important for the young girls on the team to experience this.

“Up in the locker room, I was telling them, ‘You hate this feeling, right?’ They all looked at me and nodded. I said to them, ‘So don’t let it happen again.’ “

Maher’s teams have produced six state championships and 19 sectional titles while winning more than 700 games. When she was asked whether she plans to return for a 45th season, she replied, “Right now, yeah. I don’t think about that stuff now. I deal with the present. I haven’t even thought about it.”



Share the News!
Andrea Martone - Westchester and Rivertowns Real Estate - Houlihan Lawrence agent

Brown and Four Others Sworn Into Newly Refreshed Tarrytown Board

By Barrett Seaman-- Oftentimes, when Tarrytown’s trustee meeting room is packed with people, it’s because some controversial issue is on...
Read More

Latimer Declares COVID State of Emergency

This story has been updated as of 7:00p.m. Tuesday, December 7 By Barrett Seaman— Since their springtime lows, the metrics...
Read More

Tarrytown’s Tom Butler Is Leaving Office With A Hall of Fame Induction

By Barrett Seaman-- As his successor, Karen Brown, took up the mayor’s gavel Monday night, outgoing Tarrytown Mayor Tom Butler...
Read More

Irvington Planning Board Close to A Deal On Halsey Pond Development

By Barrett Seaman-- After more than 30 years of on-again/off-again plans and disputes, a picture is nearly complete of what...
Read More

Boys High School Hoops Squads Ready to Get Season Rolling

By Tom Pedulla DOBBS FERRY Top returnees: Senior guard Ryan Brunenavs, senior center Jabari Marsland, senior forward Adam Schwartz. Top...
Read More

Local High School Girls’ Basketball Teams Ready to Take the Court

By Tom Pedulla The Hudson Independent examines the prospects of local schools for the varsity girls’ basketball season. DOBBS FERRY...
Read More

Who Would Do Such A Thing?

By Barrett Seaman— Twice in mid-November, someone, most likely in the dead of night, dug up the native perennials that...
Read More

Tarrytown to Allow Cannabis Dispensaries (But Not Lounges) to Set Up Shop

By Rick Pezzullo--- The Tarrytown Board of Trustees has informally decided to join neighboring Sleepy Hollow in welcoming cannabis dispensaries--but...
Read More

Chutney’s Masala’s New Street Food Menu

By Shana Liebman-- Irvington’s Chutney Masala, one of Westchester’s top Indian restaurants, just launched a new Indian street food menu...
Read More

Tarrytown Music Hall Brings Vinyl Back

By Shana Liebman-- Rivertown record-lovers are in for a treat. Last month, The Tarrytown Music Hall opened a record store...
Read More
122 recommended
bookmark icon