Female Athlete of The Week: Motivated Martin bringing spark to Wildcats

Hayley Martin Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County senior Hayley Martin struggled in the first half against Skyline last week, but one of her teammates helped get her motivated and ready for the second half.

“I was really down in the first half just because my shots weren’t going in,” Martin said. “My head was somewhere else I don’t know why, but I was not in the game. Kima Robinson, our point guard, she came over and told me, she was like ‘you can’t be doing this. Now’s not the time to do this. It’s your senior year. It’s your last Skyline game.’ She was like ‘you can’t do this right now, you’ve got to step it up.’ She really gets me going. She’s a great leader. She always keeps me on my toes.”

The inspirational words got Martin back on track, and she played a key role in Warren County’s 35-33 victory.

She scored 9 points and hit two big 3-pointers to help give the Wildcats the win.

Martin said she noticed that Skyline was confused on defense a few times, and was able to take advantage by knocking down a couple shots from beyond the arc.

“It was not an option to miss,” Martin said. “I was like I can’t miss this when I had the opportunity.”

Martin also scored in double figures in a win against Madison County. Martin’s strong week helped earn her The Northern Virginia Daily’s Female Athlete of the Week for the week of Jan. 4-10.

Martin said hitting the big shots against cross-town rival Skyline made it even sweeter, since she knows and has played with many of those players over the years. She said being a senior made it even more special, and helped the Wildcats avenge an earlier loss to the Hawks.

“Just being my senior year I really have to step it up and show myself,” Martin said. “… The first game at home didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to. So we really had to come back and show what we were really made of. I think we did a good job of that.”

Martin said she wants to make the most of her senior season. She said she plays year-round and played on two different Amateur Athletic Union teams this past summer.

She said she also trains in Winchester with Norman Blowe, the owner and team president of the Winchester Storm. The Storm is a semi-pro team in the American Professional Basketball League.

“He’s really good. He’s one of the best people I’ve every trained with,” Martin said.

Martin played some at the varsity level at Warren County as a freshman, and has seen her game continue to rise since then. One thing that’s stayed consistent has been her ability to hit the outside shot.

She said she enjoys being a 3-point shooter. Warren County coach John Kelly said her confidence has grown over the year.

“She has beautiful form and what I like to call ‘great feet.’ She balances herself well which allows her to extend her range of her shot,” Kelly said. “Where she has grown is the confidence in taking the shot during all phases of the offense. She has the green light to shoot in our multiple offenses. She has become a much more confident shooter under pressure situations, or where she has had to create a shot opportunity under tight defense where teams know the ball rotates to her.”

Martin said even though she loves being an outside shooter, she’s also trying to work on other parts of her game.

She said she would like to drive to the basket more, and be able to play inside some as well. Martin said she wants to play in college, and some of the schools looking at her have said they would like to use her as a forward.

Another area of her game that’s working on is her defense. Martin said she knows in order to stay in the game she knows she has to be able to play on both sides of the ball.

Kelly said her defense and rebounding was vital for the Wildcats against Skyline.

“I really think what has helped her on defense the most is using her court IQ to be in better positions on defense, allowing her to play a faster guard or a taller post,” Kelly said. “She is a smart player, and this definitely helps. Against Skyline, she was able to move herself into position to get two huge rebounds in the fourth which converted to points on the other end for our team.”

Martin said she really wants to play in college, and she’s excited about having that opportunity next year.

She said for her senior year at Warren County she just wants to make the most of this basketball season.

“The Skyline game when we almost lost, it really hit me I was like ‘oh my gosh, I’m not ready to leave,'” Martin said. “I’m really going to push myself from now on, and hopefully do better.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com