Amesbury junior Emily Martin recently concluded a basketball season in which the Indians went 5-15. She took a moment to chat with The Daily News following the season.
Sports: Soccer, basketball, track
Basketball stats: 12.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists per game. Led the Indians with 21 three-pointers and 58 made free throws.
Accomplishments: CAL All-League soccer player (defender), CAL All-League basketball player (point guard), basketball team captain as junior, future senior captain of soccer team.
You really had a coming-out year this season for basketball as the team's primary ball-handler and top scorer with nearly twice as many points as a season ago (130 to 241). What do you think enabled you to have such a nice season, and what would you consider to be your best attributes on the court?
"This year, we were really closer as a team, and it helped, and being a junior allowed me to step up and have more confidence. I was able to drive to the hoop better, and my jump shot was improved."
What are some things you would like to work on in terms of your game to come back and be an even better player?
"Good question. I think the biggest thing is to work on my three-point shot. I just need to get out and get more shots."
Who is the toughest defender or the toughest match-up you had to go against this season?
"Newburyport's Beth Castantini was really good, and Pentucket probably had the best team we played against, too."
Just two years ago, the Amesbury girls soccer team made the state tournament for the first time in more than a decade, the first time under girls soccer coach Cathy Berry. It's been six years since the girls basketball team made the state tournament. Do you think you and your class can get the basketball team into postseason play next year?
"We're hoping to get a few more freshmen that will help us out. I think we need to do more stuff in the offseason, even more than we did this year, and just work hard at getting closer as a team, even closer than we were this year. We did do a summer league team last year with one of the girl's dads at (Northern Essex Community College). I think that would really help again this year."
In soccer, you are an outside back where your top priority is to prevent teams from scoring, and you don't see a lot of possession of the ball. In basketball, it's just the opposite. You are a scoring point guard, someone that handles the ball all the time. What do you like about each position? How are you able to play such differing roles, and how does your mentality change?
"On defense for soccer, I kind of use the same tactics I use for basketball. I still take ball upfield, and I like defense because we a have a strong defensive unit and really work well together.
"Caitlin King was the point guard in the past, so that position was new to me this year. Someone had to fill in the position, and coach chose me. At the beginning, I didn't like it that much, because I was used to being just a guard. But as I got used to the position, I liked the fact I was in charge, and at the end of the season, I really liked it.
"In terms of the positions, they're two completely different games, so that really doesn't get in my way."
Both your soccer and basketball teams were young and you were forced to be a leader for each team. What were some of the responsibilities you felt you had to carry out?
"We had two really good captains in soccer and a big junior class, so we all stepped up and filled roles on the team. Morgan was the only senior on the basketball team, and I was already kind of used to being one of the older kids on the team, so I had that experience. We had spaghetti dinners to build chemistry before games, and I would carry some of the equipment on and off the bus."
Chris Perry has been around coaching Amesbury athletics literally for decades with numerous accomplishments in both softball and basketball. He is soft-spoken and sometimes almost Belichick-ian in his responses to the media. How do you view Chris? How has he helped you blossom as a player? What do you think his biggest strengths/attributes are as a coach?
"I think he's a pretty good coach; he is just very quiet. But in softball, his records show that he is a really good coach. He's been around for a while, so he knows most of us really well.
"Since my freshman year, he brought me up to the varsity team, which was an honor I got to play with a higher level of players and really helped me develop. In practice, he really interacts with the players, and he'll help us one-on-one like if we need to work on our shot or another area of our game."
What is some of the best advice you've received from a coach, parent or friend in terms of your athletic career, and who was that?
"My parents are really supportive, and they tell me never to give up, to keep my head up, even when basketball is not going very well, to stick with it and not to give up."
You are another three-sport athlete with a lot of promise in soccer, basketball and track. Can you talk about some your favorite moments in each of those sports?
"During soccer, which is probably my top sport, and all the girls I play with I've been friends with since I was little, so when we made States for the first time in 16 years, it really felt amazing.
Last spring, in track, Taylor Tagliente, Megan Cullen, Cathy Harding and myself set the school record for the 4x800 team, which was really cool.
"(In basketball) being selected All-League was really cool, and getting to play with some of the players with the other teams was awesome in the All-Star game."
You were just the fourth All-Cape Ann League selection in Cathy Berry's tenure last fall?
"I played town soccer since I was really little, so I've been playing with the same girls ever since then. Then, I played NESS or New England Soccer School until probably I was 14, when I started focusing on high school sports and had to stop, but that really helped out. And I'm hoping to continue playing on into college."
Which side of the family do you get your athleticism from, mom or dad or both?
"My mom was an amazing basketball player for Newburyport, and my dad played football at Newburyport, too, so I guess it was from both sides. The funny thing is they said when they were in high school, they could never imagine living in Amesbury, but I guess things change, because now they're rooting for Amesbury."
In a game of horse, what would be your go-to move?
"A three-point jump shot from the top of the key, straight on."
Favorite sports movie? Favorite sports competition (Olympics, NBA Finals, World Cup, etc.)? Athlete you would most like to emulate?
"Miracle. Probably the Olympics because of swimming and Michael Phelps winning all the gold medals. Mia Hamm just because she played soccer and I always looked up to her since I was little."