Female Area Athlete of the Week: Martini shows consistency for Patriots
Pequot Lakes junior earns area athlete of the week
When watching Kelsi Martini, it’s hard to tell if she is having a good game or a bad game.
The Pequot Lakes junior turned in good games last week highlighted by a 21-point performance in a 63-38 victory over Crosby-Ironton. Martini nailed four 3-pointers in the win.
“We were hitting our shots which was really good to see,” Martini said. “We ran the floor really well and that was one of our goals. My teammates give really good passes. They drive and dish really well. We get confidence when people on our team hit 3s and we feed off each other’s 3s.”
Martini followed with 13 points against Rock Ridge Friday, Jan. 20. She reached a milestone by scoring her 1,000th point Tuesday, Jan. 24, when she recorded 21 points against Staples-Motley.
“She is vital to what we do,” Pequot Lakes head coach Brian Lempola said. “She is one of our best shooters by far. She is really good at putting the ball on the floor and getting to the rim.”
Against Detroit Lakes Jan. 13, Martini scored a team-high 16 points where she went 13-of-16 from the free throw line in the win. She scored 14 points against Duluth Marshall in a win Jan. 7.
In the Granite City Classic over winter break, Martini led the Patriots with 16 points in a victory against Montevideo and 17 points in a win against Pine City.
“You always have to account for her defensively,” Lempola said. “If you close out too hard on her, she has a really quick first step and is really good at attacking the basket as well.”
Martini also led the team in scoring with 15 points in a win against Royalton Dec. 20. Her season high came in the Patriots’ season opener where she scored 22 points against Pillager.
The Patriots play an aggressive 1-2-2 zone defensive where they force a lot of turnovers.
“We can always turn good defense into offense,” Martini said. “We have good guards on top. Those quick steals help the momentum change and when we are not hitting shots we always have the defense to control.”
Lempola added: “Her transition game has always been one of her strengths. When you get her out in space with no one in front of her she is electric. She makes some really good things happen and makes plays for her team.”
Martini has been a varsity player since eighth grade. She averaged 6.4 points on 42% shooting and 81% from the free throw that season
As a sophomore last year, Martini was third on the team in scoring at 10.8 per game and shot 46% from the field, 39% from 3-point and 72% from the free throw.
She was a starter on the Patriots which finished 31-2 and fifth in the Class 2A State Tournament.
“She’s got a great sense of humor,” Lempola said. “She is the ultimate competitor and no one is as hard on themselves as Kelsi. She is just a really, really good basketball player and we are excited for her. She is someone who has stepped and is very uplifting to her teammates.”
As a freshman, Martini finished with 274 points (13.0 per game), 64 rebounds (3.0 per game), 59 assists (2.8 per game) and 59 steals. She shot 47% (81-172) from the field, 40% (21-53) from 3-point and 84% (91-108) from the free throw line.
Her freshman season was the shortened 2020-21 season due to the pandemic.
“Our team chemistry has always been very good,” Martini said. “As we have been playing with each other we feel more comfortable and my confidence has definitely improved. We can read each other really well and hit each other when we pass. We’ve had a lot of good give-and-goes this year.”
Martini played libero this fall for the Pequot Lakes volleyball team which placed second at the Class 2A State tournament. She was named All-Mid State Conference and played 96 sets finishing with 449 digs (4.7 per set), 67 set assists and 66 ace serves with a 96.1 serve percentage.
Martini was really happy to notch her 1,000th point while sharing the court with her older sister and senior Maci Martini.
“It was pretty cool,” Kelsi Martini said.
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Tori Oehrlein, Crosby-Ironton, recorded 32 points and 10 rebounds against Holdingford and 23 points against Pequot Lakes.
Grace Grimsley, Pillager, scored 22 points against Bertha-Hewitt.
Ella Janzen, Aitkin, scored 22 points against East Central.
Maddie Carsten, Wadena-Deer Creek, scored 25 points against Sebeka.
School: Pequot Lakes
Sport: Girls Basketball
Highlights: She scored 21 points against Crosby-Ironton.