Female Area Athlete of the Week: Freshman leads Pequot Lakes to section finals
Maci Martini may be a freshman, but she was the best scoring option for the Pequot Lakes Patriots in the section playoffs.
In a run to the Section 7-2A finals, Martini scored 22 points in the section semifinals to lead the Patriots past Virginia.
Against Duluth Marshall in the finals, Martini scored 16 points, but Pequot Lakes fell short of making an appearance in state 79-63.
“Against Virginia, we were all playing in our roles really well,” Martini said. “The bench had a lot of energy that game which really helped. In the Duluth Marshall game, we were really ready to play and our seniors were being really good role models in that game. Everyone was really positive and encouraging, which helped us do better.”
Martini looked to the seniors for leadership throughout the season.
“I really loved our seniors,” Martini said. “They were super encouraging in practice and made everything so fun. We were also really close off the court which also made it fun.”
For her freshman season, Martini averaged a team-high 11.7 points per game. She also grabbed 4.1 rebounds which Pequot head coach Katrina Moody liked to see.
“She definitely became more consistent for us later in the season, so we kind of looked for her to get some points on the board,” Moody said. “Overall, I think she is kind of a quiet offensive player. She drew a lot of attention this year with us not having a consistent scorer. She rebounded really well for us as a guard and got a lot of putbacks. As a coach, I like that she rebounds. She is a guard, so most of the time she’s guarded by a littler guard so I like that she goes to the basket.”
Martini also landed a spot on the Dispatch All-Area Team.
“I just knew I had really good teammates that could help me out by giving me good passes and getting rebounds,” Martini said.
Offensively, Martini’s ability to get to the free-throw line was key in her scoring. She shot 81% from the line which tied her for second in the area for percentage.
“I think I do a really good job of driving baseline because I usually get fouled when I go up strong,” Martini said. “I also love shooting corner 3s.”
As an eighth-grader Martini played the role of a straight catch-and-shoot player for the Patriots. Moody said it’s the best part of her game because her shot looks effortless. The free throw numbers and her willingness to drive more showed her overall improvement.
“She got a lot more attention and improved her game for us,” Moody said. “She became more comfortable as our team improved.”
Martini’s younger sister Kelsi Martini played as an eighth-grader. Kelsi Martini nailed five 3-pointers against Duluth Marshall in the section finals and Maci Martini loves the idea of playing alongside her sister for the next three years.
“It helps because we have been playing together for a while,” Maci Martini said. “We usually know when each other is going to go backdoor. We just have that connection on the court together.”
Moody said like her sister, Kelsi Martini showed similar improvements.
“I think a lot of times (Maci) takes a lot of the attention, so Kelsi will get after it on both sides of the floor,” Moody said. “They complement each other well because they are both a little bit different and Maci definitely gets more looks because Kelsi drives and kicks for her.”
Maci Martini is excited for next season and beyond because of how close she is to her sister’s class.
“That’ll help with the games to come,” Martini said. “I think I need to improve on my defense and getting more rebounds because I am one of the taller guards on the floor.”
School: Pequot Lakes
Highlights: 22 points against Virginia and 16 points against Duluth Marshall.