With her team fighting tooth and nail with Pennsauken in the fourth quarter, freshman Brittany Martin had a brief scare that had nothing to do with the scoreboard.
Martin saw her mom stumble and fall down a few rows of steps on the bleachers. It sent a shock through the young guard.
Fortunately, it took but a brief moment for Martin to find out that her mother was going to be just fine. Rather than have the incident distract her from the game, it seemed to invigorate Martin. She began playing with aggressiveness and grit, and it was Pennsauken that paid the price.
Martin helped the Chargers erase a six-point deficit in the final two minutes by sinking a tying free throw with 1.8 seconds left, then exploded for nine points in overtime to lead Timber Creek to a 62-56 win in Olympic Conference Patriot Division action.
“We weren’t playing so well in the beginning (of the fourth quarter), but then I saw my mom fall and that just got me really upset,” Martin said. “After that I just went out there and did my best.”
“We were all saying that we think that gave her the spark,” teammate Amirah Postell said.
Whether the timing of the stumble and Martin’s hot streak were a coincidence is debatable, but there was no question the Chargers certainly needed it.
With Timber Creek down five with just under two minutes to play, Meghan Barth (16 points) connected on a three-pointer to bring the Chargers within a basket. With a chance to tie the game, Timber Creek had a couple of empty possessions, but Pennsauken kept Timber Creek in the game by going 1-of-5 from the free-throw line over the final minute. The Chargers trailed just 44-43 when Martin was fouled after grabbing an offensive rebound with 1.8 seconds left.
As she stepped to the line, Martin could feel the pressure
“I was shaking so much,” Martin said. “I was shaking so bad, I just had to get my mind right and at least hit one of them.”
Martin hit the first, but missed the second and the game went into overtime. The odds seemed stacked against the Chargers, who had seen three starters foul out in regulation. But Martin took over in the extra frame, converting a pair of fast-break layups and going 5-for-6 from the charity stripe in the extra session, while the packed gymnasium chanted "MVP."
“She wanted the ball in her hands and she pretty much carried us,” said Timber Creek head coach Donna Clark.
“I knew we just had to attack the basket,” Martin said. “We couldn’t let them stop us like they did before.”
Postell, who was one of the Chargers who fouled out, said the players who remained in the game did an excellent job of staying aggressive and forcing the Indians to also turn to their bench.
“We made sure we kept going at their players,” Postell said. “A few of them were in foul trouble so we tried to take advantage of that. We just made sure we could get to the line or finish our layups so we could build back up the lead.”
Timber Creek entered the year with question marks all over the roster, but has shown little signs of its youth, starting 5-3 overall and 3-0 in the division. Suddenly, repeating as division champions doesn’t seem so out of the question.
“That’s our first goal—to win the division,” Clark said. “Then we want to get in the playoffs and make a run. We started a little slow and then had a nice (four-game) win streak. I think we are progressing at a good pace.”