Ilion was on the cusp of erasing Sherburne-Earlville’s 15-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Bombers had possession of the ball with an opportunity to tie the game. That’s when S-E junior Bridget Irwin imposed her will and burgeoning game on the opposition.
Irwin sniffed out a crosscourt pass, picked it off, and drew a foul driving to the basket. She hit one free throw to make the count a two-possession game. After Ilion closed the gap again with a layup, Irwin stepped up again. She drained an open 15-foot shot that back-rimmed high, then swished through. On the ensuing defensive possession, she ripped a defensive rebound out of the hands of an Ilion player, drawing another foul. Showy icy-calm nerves, Irwin put the game away with a pair of free throws.
Those three plays all happened in the final minute of play, and is a microcosm of Irwin’s 2009-2010 season. “She does things quietly, and nothing seems to bother her under pressure,” said S-E head coach Karen Mulligan, who has coached Irwin the past four years on junior varsity, and now varsity. “She just strives to do her best in pressure situations.”