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03/30/2022 12:00 AM

Martin Hits Clutch Buckets for the Huskies

Katie Martin had a solid junior season with the Morgan girls’ basketball team after helping the Huskies win a conference title on the soccer pitch last fall. Photo courtesy of Katie Martin

The Morgan girls’ basketball team continued its longstanding tradition of making the playoffs during the 2022 season. One of the biggest reasons why the Huskies were able to get back in the brackets was the performance of junior Katie Martin at the power forward position.

Katie started playing basketball in 5th grade because she was looking for something new to do in her free time. Katie had already played soccer for several years, but made a smooth transition to the basketball court, and soon discovered her passion for shooting hoops.

“The truth behind what got me into was I really just wanted to do something in the winter,” says Katie. “I’ve played soccer all my life, and it’s been my main sport up until then. I decided to do basketball with park and rec, and I quickly fell in love with the game.”

Katie turned in several strong performances throughout the year, recording six games in which she scored double-digit points. On Feb. 19, Katie netted a season-high total of 16 points when Morgan faced Cromwell. Katie also hit a couple of go-ahead buckets in the clutch, including one when the Huskies earned a 50-49 home win versus Coginchaug on Jan. 21.

“My favorite moment as a player was definitely getting the game-winning basket in back-to-back games this past season,” Katie says. “The first game was against Coginchaug, and we were down by one point. [Head Coach Caitlin Woods] called a timeout with 10 seconds left to design a play for an outside shot. When it was time to run the play, we struggled to get the ball in. Caeley Ayer passed to me, and I could hear the crowd counting down the seconds, so I knew I had to drive to the hoop. Luckily, it went in, but it was just a great feeling to experience.”

Katie also drained the game-winner in Morgan’s 37-35 victory at Haddam-Killingworth on Feb. 15. In addition to scoring 8 points, Katie also grabbed 11 rebounds for the Huskies in their triumphant effort.

“They are arguably our rivals, so it was a big game for us. Both teams had huge student sections, which makes games more intense,” says Katie. Morgan and H-K “were neck and neck the whole game until it came down to the final seconds. I had an open lane to drive, so I took the layup in the final five seconds, giving us the lead. Again, it was such an amazing experience I’ll never forget. Our student section rushed the court, and it felt like I was on top of the world.”

Katie went on to score 8 points to go with 9 boards in Morgan’s 50-25 victory over Goodwin Tech in the first round of the Class M State Tournament. The junior forward credits her hard work throughout the offseason for her success during the 2022 campaign. Katie is also a member of the Morgan girls’ soccer team and feels that patrolling the pitch has proved a huge help with her endurance in basketball. Last fall, Katie earned All-Shoreline Conference Second Team accolades while helping the Huskies claim their league title.

“To improve my game, I really put work into practice. Physically, practice can be very difficult and enduring during a long season like basketball. Putting the work during practice and the offseason is what makes me better and the team better overall,” Katie says. “Off the court, I also try to be a positive influence on the team. When someone is having a hard time, I do my best to recognize it and help them out.”

Coach Woods has seen Katie’s skillset evolve on the basketball court throughout the past three seasons. Woods says that Katie has established herself as dynamic and versatile player for Morgan girls’ hoops.

“Katie is a force on the court, and she’s everything you want in a student-athlete. Her genuine love for her teammates and leadership on and off the court are tremendous,” says Woods. “Katie’s contributions in all aspects are vital for our team. I’m so proud of how hard she’s worked and her success this season.”

In turn, Katie credits Coach Woods for helping her develop into the basketball player that she became this season. Katie describes Woods as a source of positive reinforcement in her life and someone she can always depend on.

“Coach Woods has always pushed me to be the best athlete I can be. She has always encouraged me to do what’s best for myself and has taught me so much more than the game itself,” Katie says. “I’m really grateful she is my coach, because she brings out the best qualities in all of us. She is a great coach who knows what position and plays work for everyone.”

While Morgan was able to win 10 games, Katie wanted the team go deeper in the playoffs this season. Katie is going to be hungry to help Huskies notch more victories next year, and she’s already eager for the campaign to get underway.

“Our team grappled with so many injuries and COVID problems. We all can probably agree we wish we went further in both the conference and state tournament, but aside from that, I’m so proud of my team,” says Katie. “Through it all, we still kept on having fun, which is all you can ask for as a high school athlete. I can’t wait until summer league and the next season to start.”