On Jan. 5 on home parquet along the Highway of Legends outside of Weston, Colorado, the Primero High School Bulldogs hosted the Manzanola High School Bobcats in the early new year moving quickly to mid season for winter sports.
The Bulldogs beat the Bobcats 59-28.
A 31-point margin of victory alone garners attention well deserved. And in most cases, that point margin would do just fine. But, not at all in this case.
Bobcat student-athlete and team Co-Captain sophomore No. 5 Kirsten Martinez did something not often seen in any basketball league of any conference at any size school. Martinez completely dominated the entire game on both ends of the basketball court.
Martinez opened the first half of the game with 22 points, six coming from deeply driven three pointers in no man’s land way off the arc. The other 16 points almost exclusively arrived from some the most aggressive and instinct driven defensive play seen yet the winter sports season. Intercepted passes. Steals. Defensive rebounds. Tipped basketballs. Oppressive traps. All part of a single individuals determination to allow no points scored from an opponent, ever.
The far smaller Martinez is not intimidated by size in any manner, crashing rebound and offensive boards with fearless passion. Many deuces in the bucket coming off breakaway opportunities forced by an oppressive, absolutely in the face, on-on-one, forced press defense Martinez appears to completely enjoy.
In better physical condition than most other student-athletes on the basketball court, Martinez is able to address her considerable offensive talents late in the fourth quarter, finishing the game with a stellar 37 points. Most points in the second half again coming off a swarm of Martinez’s forced errors.
Martinez was not nearly alone in last Fridays dominating victory over Manzanolan. Primero senior student-athlete and team Co-Captain No. 24 Melanie Lujan added six points and continued to show why she is a premiere player down low. Lujan enjoyed with glee her time in the key, boxing out Bobcat defenders with aggressive wide base body music and isolating the opposition from the round leather ball. Student-athlete senior No. 35 Taylor Mestas brought a defense oriented 12 points to the table, with Alysia Baca and Gabi Griego each with a bucket.
The Bulldogs added salt to open wounds with the most oppressive collapsing zone, trap oriented defense seen this season, providing fluid motion around the wheelhouse as the Bulldogs effortlessly posted defense from one side of the court to the other. A strong, pursuit defense that left the Bobcats down 15 in the first half, and an additional 16 in the second
With Martinez as a bonafide game changer, the Bobcats play team hoops extremely well, with a genuine familiarity among themselves as a squad of mostly seniors. Good communication and attention to detail helped the Primero Bulldogs to a victory over Manzanola 59-28. And even though 37 points came from one player, the Bulldogs know the only way to excellence is as a team.