Martinez sparks Lanier girls in win over Highlands
Throughout the season, Lanier guard Marissa Martinez has provided steady leadership for an inexperienced Lady Voks team during critical situations.
Martinez came through again Friday, helping steady the Lady Voks in the second half during a 69-51 win over the Highlands Lady Owls at Alamo Convocation Center.
Martinez scored 18 points in the second half and drained three 3-pointers as Lanier (17-13 overall, 9-5 in District 27-5A) moved into third place in the District 27-5A standings, one game ahead of Brackenridge and Sam Houston.
Lanier coach Laura Negrete-Fernandez said Martinez, a senior and the most experienced player on the team, provides a calming influence for the team whenever she is on the floor. Martinez guided the Lady Voks through a second half in which several of their players, including Martinez, were saddled with foul trouble.
“She will get on the girls and that’s OK,” Negrete-Fernandez said. “We are calmer with her because she does take control in her own way. She knows what she is doing.”
Despite foul trouble, Lanier managed to take a 14-point lead late in the third quarter by going on a 20-7 run. Martinez sparked the Lady Voks during the run when she stole the ball underneath Highlands’ basket on two consecutive possessions, converting both steals into layups.
After a Highlands timeout, Angie Coronado came up with Lanier’s third consecutive steal when she stole the ball near midcourt and drove it in for a layup, putting the Lady Voks up 46-33. Timera Lopez extended the Lanier lead to 14, at 51-37, when she drilled a 3-pointer at the 1:38 mark of the third quarter.
As the fouls piled up for Lanier, Highlands took advantage by converting their free throws. The Lady Owls closed out the third quarter by scoring seven straight points, all from foul shots, to get within 51-44 at the end of the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Lanier stepped it up, going on another big run, 11-2, to extend its lead to double digits at 62-46 on a runner by Martinez.
Martinez said at halftime that Negrete-Fernandez emphasized to the Lady Voks the need to put pressure on Highlands’ ballhandlers to force them into making bad decisions and to double team Highlands’ best player, Layla Mendoza.
“We knew that the game was going to be ours and we knew that we needed to keep up the energy,” Martinez said. “We knew what we had to do from the beginning, and in that third quarter we did it perfectly.”
Playing with foul trouble, sophomore forward Jakerria Mayberry scored 19 points for Lanier. Mayberry was Lanier’s leading scorer in the first half with 14, helping the Lady Voks to a 31-29 halftime advantage. Lopez added 11 points for Lanier.
Mendoza led Highlands with 22 points, followed by Iyana Clay with eight.