WESTON, Conn. Ellie Martins career with the Weston High girls basketball team far exceeds the expectations she had as a freshman.
I wanted to be the captain by the time I was a senior, said Martin, who shares that role this year with her best friend, Lianna Hursh. And I wanted to be successful. I dont know how I would qualify that.
By any measure, Martins career at Weston has been a success. She will lead the Trojans to their fourth straight appearance in the Class M tournament Monday against No. 3 seed Ellington. She has averaged double figures in points and rebounds for three straight years and has earned a variety of accolades.
What Martin will take away from Weston, however, is far more important than individual achievements. I never looked at it in terms of wins and losses, Martin said. I wanted to make a lot of new friends and have good relationships with all of these girls. Most of my best friends have been through the basketball team.
The path Martin traveled during her career at Weston has not been easy. She earned a starting role as a sophomore, as Weston went 14-9. The Trojans were headed toward a big season last winter under coach Dan Rosen, the third coach in three years at the school. But s eason-ending injuries to starters Christina Welsh and Taylor Swanson proved costly after a promising start and Weston finished 14-10.
For all of us, it was emotionally and physically exhausting, Martin said. But that was the team that I enjoyed the most. We went through so many hardships together, but we became so much closer.
With some key losses to graduation, the Trojans struggled. They did not expect to have difficulty reaching the eight wins to qualify for states. But inexperience, a slow start and some close losses left them needing to win two of their final three games to reach the postseason.
Coming into the season, we never expected it would come down to an urgent situation, Martin said. We kept fighting through it. We learned what you can do with hard work, and it all paid off.
Martin is having another big year for Weston despite drawing attention from opposing defenses. In the final regular season game against Joel Barlow, Martin finished with 12 points and earned every one of them. Every time she touched the ball, Martin had a Barlow defender right with her.
Its definitely been frustrating, she said. But that pressure is a privilege. When a team keys on me, its intimidating. Its like, Thanks, I guess. When a team keys on me, I also have more drive to kick them in the face and get back at them. And my teammates do a good job of stepping up. When one player falters, another player steps up.
Martins most distinguishing characteristics are her energy and competitiveness. Shes a relentless rebounder, and she uses her 5-foot, 10-inch frame and outstanding leaping ability to control the backboards. Her competitive drive is evident even in track, where she runs middle distance events in the spring. One of her favorite memories is anchoring the team to a victory in the 4 x 400 relay in last years league championships.
Track is an individual sport, but in a race like that Im not just running for myself. Im running for the other three girls on the team, Martin said. Those other girls got me that lead. The worst feeling is hearing those footsteps behind you. Actually, its worse if you see those footsteps get ahead of you. You dont want that to happen.
Martin, who plans to continue her basketball career at a Division III college, will be remembered as one of the programs top players. The friends she has made and the memories she created will be her lasting impacts. Being on the floor is great, Martin said. But its being with your teammates, on and off the court, thats what has made it so great for me.
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