Future looks bright for Lady Hornets
Throughout a difficult season, Emmaus girls basketball head coach Kelsey Gallagher has looked for positives to point out to her players.
Sometimes, it comes down to just a play here and there and other times it comes down to how they battled against a tough team. After a recent 44-15 loss to Parkland, it was Parkland coach Ed Ohlson who had some good things to say about Emmaus.
“They’ve got some nice young players,” said Ohlson. “It’s going to be interesting to see how they develop over the next couple of seasons. I really liked that number 40. She’s tough.”
Number 40 is Gabrielle Martin, a sophomore who is getting unexpected varsity playing time this season for Emmaus. Martin is the type of player who doesn’t like to rest and she typifies what Gallagher mentioned earlier in the season about not wanting her players to take even one play off.
“She has been fantastic,” said Gallagher. “From not playing any varsity last year to getting significant minutes this year, she has really adapted to the varsity level and the varsity speed. She’s physical on and off the ball and she’s in the right spots. She’s smart and she’s only a sophomore.”
Martin has played in all 21 games for Emmaus this season and is averaging just over four points per game. Where her play particularly stands out is on defense and in transition. She has become a pesky type of player who may not always make a big play, but she’s always going to be in an opponent’s face.
In a non-conference game earlier this season, Martin scored a career-high 13 points in a 54-44 win over Scranton. In that game, Martin was second in scoring only to junior Alyssa Burkhart, who finished with 17 points.
While Gallagher pointed out that she is only a sophomore, Martin isn’t happy with playing like a sophomore. She acknowledges that there are areas where she can improve and she’s working to fix any little hole that might be in her game.
“I know I can do better,” said Martin after the loss to Parkland. “I’m never satisfied. I just have to keep working and getting better.”
As difficult as this season has been for Emmaus, Gallagher notes that the players have kept their heads up, with only some moments of doubt creeping in, as would be normal.
The players are making the most of the season and haven’t quit, even in a stretch of games that saw them face four of the tougher teams in the EPC all in the span of 10 days. The schedule had them facing Northampton, Parkland, Central Catholic and Nazareth.
“We’re trying our best and we just keep trying to have some fun,” said Martin of the tough times and difficult stretch of the schedule.
While much of the focus has been on young players and building for the future, Gallagher noted that it takes having a good group of senior players to help younger players to be ready for the times down the road when the team figures to be competitive in the EPC.
“The future does look bright and it doesn’t take anything away from the seniors and the juniors, because they’re helping to mold and put their stamp on what Emmaus is going to be and what’s the expectation,” said Gallagher. “We always point out where we’re getting better and we let them know that they can be confident. It’s just that we’re young and the upper classmen have helped to develop that attitude.”