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Martell reaches 1,000 points, Spartan girls keep winning

Somerset's Ashley Martell is shown with assistant coach Carlos Gee (left) and head coach Kendrick Livers after scoring her 1,000th point against Glenwood City last week.

Somerset senior Ashley Martell reached the 1,000-point milestone last Tuesday and the Spartans maintained a share of the Middle Border Conference lead during a hectic week.

Martell reached the 1,000-point mark, scoring on a fastbreak early in the first quarter of Somerset's 47-33 win over Glenwood City. She finished the night with a game-high 15 points. Classmate Karli Solum scored 12 points for the Spartans.

Martell becomes the eighth player in Somerset basketball history to score 1,000 points in their career. Post players Sarah Wishard and Ann Schachtner and guard Kellie Ring previously reached the mark in the girls program. From the boys basketball program, Brian Moulton, Derek Anderson, Garret Belisle and Mike Schachtner have scored more than 1,000 points in their careers.

The Spartans are one of four Middle Border Conference girls teams with one loss. Technically, the Spartans took the MBC lead on Monday night with a 55-46 win over Baldwin-Woodville. This made the Spartans 4-1 in conference play while Prescott and Ellsworth are 3-1 and Durand is 2-1.

In addition to the wins over Glenwood City and Baldwin-Woodville, the Spartans were also winners at Amery last Friday, 34-30.

In Monday's win, the Spartans started slowly, trailing 10-7 in the first quarter. The Spartans then went on a 16-0 run to lead 23-10 early in the second quarter.

Somerset's lead grew as high as 19 points early in the third quarter, at 43-24. Then B-W started chipping away at the lead. It was down to 48-38 at the end of the third quarter. The Blackhawks got as close as 50-46 with 3:26 left in the game. Then Spartan guard Laura Wells hit a three-pointer to stop the Hawks' rally.

Spartan coach Kendrick Livers saw excellent things from his team in the first half, but was displeased with the team's intensity in the second half.

"We got comfortable. We got lazy on defense and on offense we quit running sets," Livers said.

Martell and junior center Ellie Vanasse had big nights. Martell led the Spartans with 17 points. Vanasse was nearly unstoppable when the Spartans got her the ball in the low post, finishing with 13 points.

Friday's win at Amery wasn't an offensive masterpiece, but the Spartans were able to hold on. Defense was more of a key feature in the win. The Spartans held Amery standout Kelly Stewart scoreless in the first half. Stewart scored 11 points in the second half, but the Warriors could never get the lead back from the Spartans.

This was a good test for the Spartans because Martell fouled out early in the fourth quarter. The rest of the Spartans had to finish off the win, though several missed free throws let Amery get a little closer than the Spartans would have liked.

Martell led the Spartans with eight points, as every Spartan who got into the game made it into the scoring column.

In last Tuesday's win over Glenwood City, the Spartans led 17-12 at halftime. The Toppers played a 3-2 trapping zone that gave the Spartans some trouble in the first half. The Spartans adjusted at halftime, then outscored Glenwood City 17-2 in the third quarter.

The highlight of this win was Martell's 1,000 points. Livers said reaching this goal validates that Martell is one of the best players in the area. He said Martell is an unselfish player who sets up her teammates with her strong drives to the basket.

"Ashley gets her teammates involved. That's the sign of a leader," Livers said.

The Spartans face a significant challenge when they resume their MBC schedule this Friday. They will be playing at Durand, where the Panthers have been nearly impossible to beat for years.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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