Female Area Athlete of the Week: Martini catching fire from downtown for Pequot

Pequot Lakes seniors earns area athlete of the week

Maci Martini
Maci Martini

There is not much Pequot Lakes senior Maci Martini hasn’t accomplished on the court.

She’s a two-time All-State player in volleyball as well as being All-State and Mid-State Conference MVP in basketball last year as a junior.

She’s been the leading scorer for the Patriots since she was a freshman and helped the Patriots to a fifth-place finish at the Class 2A state girls’ basketball tournament last year.

Martini is the two-time Dispatch Player of the Year in volleyball and recently committed to play volleyball for Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Pequot girls’ basketball head coach Brian Lempola has almost run out of things to say about Martini.


“She has faced so much adversity and has really stepped up in every way when players have gone down with injuries or gotten ill in the last month,” Lempola said. “She has the highest shooting percentage on our team and is shooting almost 50% from 3-point range right now. Her defense and rebounding I think are two very underrated aspects of her game that she’s really worked hard on in the last year or so.”

In her most recent games this season, Martini has caught fire from 3-point. She nailed eight 3-pointers against Crosby-Ironton on Feb. 10, where she scored her season-high 30 points. She rattled in three more 3s in the next game against St. Cloud Cathedral on Feb. 14.

Against Staples-Motley, she buried seven 3-pointers in a blowout win against the Cardinals Feb. 16. Martini also made three 3s in a win against Proctor Feb. 17.

“Three-pointers just come from confidence,” Martini said. “I feel like once you get going in a couple of games it’s easy to get that momentum and just keep shooting. The more you make them the more you are going to want to keep shooting them.

“Our team just works really well together and we all know our strengths. If someone is driving they know they can kick it out to me or take it to the rim by themselves.”

The Proctor game finished off a stretch where Martini made three or more 3-pointers in five straight games.

“It’s something we definitely don’t take for granted,” Lempola said. “Teams always have to account for her and I think that opens up driving lanes and opportunities for others. Her shooting is very special and helps us be successful on a nightly basis.”

Coming off a second-place finish at the Class 2A State Volleyball Tournament in the fall, Martini said it took a few weeks before she felt like she was in basketball mode.


“That transition from sport to sport is hard enough and then coming off such a high from volleyball was definitely difficult,” Martini said. “It took us a little while to get back into the swing of things with injuries. I can’t think of a certain game where the turnaround happened but it was within the first couple weeks.”

Last season, Martini finished with 642 points (19.5 per game), 176 rebounds (5.3 per game), 98 assists (3.0 per game) and 82 steals. She shot 46% (217-413) from the field, 45% (105-236) from 3-point and 84% (103-122) from the free throw line.

She made the All-Tournament Team in the Class 2A state tournament highlighted by a 27-point performance in the consolation semifinals where Martini made 14-of-15 free throws.

“When someone sees Maci down on the low post battling for a loose ball or a board, I think that motivates everyone,” Lempola said. “Maci is amazing not only as a player but as a person. She strives for perfection and we’ve been blessed to be a part of that and watch and see that on a nightly basis.”

Martini’s favorite moment this season came when her younger sister, Kelsi, reached 1,000 points against Staples-Motley.

“That was a fun time for our team and really brings everyone together,” Maci Martini said. “It makes it more special that this is our last season together and having that realization that it could be our last game together makes us work harder because we don’t want it to end.”

Lempola added: “Seeing (Maci) make memories with her sister are things I’ll always cherish and remember too. We are just very blessed.”

As the regular season ends for the Patriots, both Martini and Lempola are confident they can make another run at state.


“I would say we are in a good spot,” Martini said. “There have been some bumps in the road, but we are happy where we are at and we are confident that we will have a good playoff-run when the time comes.”

Lempola added: “Success breeds success and we are able to go into those memories in situations where things may not have gone so well. I think even in our losses we have learned things about our team and character which I think will help us in these next few weeks.”

Other notable performances:
Basketball: Tori Oehrlein, Crosby-Ironton, scored 45 points against Pine River-Backus and she recorded 31 points and 10 rebounds against Park Rapids. She also reached 2,000 points with 28 points against New London-Spicer.
Juliana Ewald, Pillager, scored 26 points against Moose Lake-Willow River and she scored 31 points against Sebeka.
Grace Grimsley, Pillager, recorded 21 points against Bertha-Hewitt.

Maci Martini

Year: Senior
School: Pequot Lakes
Sport: Basketball
Position: Forward
Highlights: She recorded 23 points and seven 3-pointers against Staples-Motley. A stretch of five games with three 3-pointers or

Started at the Dispatch in June of 2019.
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