Biddeford’s Grace Martin works past a defender in the 2016-17 season. Martin was named the Journal Tribune’s girls basketball MVP. ALEX SPONSELLER/ Journal Tribune

Biddeford’s Grace Martin works past a defender in the 2016-17 season. Martin was named the Journal Tribune’s girls basketball MVP. ALEX SPONSELLER/ Journal Tribune

BIDDEFORD — The Biddeford girl’s basketball team may have hit a rebuilding phase after going 3-15 on the 2016 season — but the process could be quicker than expected with the help of one key player, a sophomore.

 Grace Martin has been named the Journal Tribune’s 2017 girls basketball MVP.

 As a sophomore, Martin put up impressive numbers on the year, leading the girl’s Class A division with 18.3 points per game and adding 11.1 rebounds per game, as well as 1.5 steals per game. Additionally, she turned out 25 blocks on the year and 20 assists. By season’s end, she held a free throw percentage of 74.

 At 6-foot-1, and likely still growing, first-year Biddeford head coach Katie Herbine thinks Martin has the ability to be a Biddeford great.

 “One of her big strengths is that she’s just a great athlete. She has athletic knowledge and good intuition. She’s big, but she moves well and I think that’s because she has played so many different sports along the way,” said Herbine.

 In addition to basketball, Martin said she plays volleyball and softball, but has recently taken a break from softball.

 “I’m not playing softball this year because I am focusing on AAU basketball and the schedule is very busy,” said Martin, adding that basketball is easily her favorite sport and the sport she is most committed to.

 Currently, Martin plays for the Maine Firecrackers national basketball team, a team comprised of some of the best girls basketball players in Maine.

 Despite Martin’s size and dominance in the paint — and on the post —Herbine said she possesses the skill to play everywhere.

 “She’s a post player but she’s also a big part of our press because she can dribble the basketball. She’s an excellent passer, she can shoot from the outside, she doesn’t typically make turnovers,” Herbine said. “We could have her play point guard if we really needed her to. She can really play anywhere.”

 Players typically grow into the role of team leader as they get older and stick with the program, Herbine said, but Martin has already taken on that role at an early age through sheer determination to improve her game.

 Martin agreed.

 “One area of my game that improved this year is just my confidence. With my freshman year under my belt I gained experience quickly which helped me in all aspects of the sport,” Martin said. “Also my leadership definitely improved when I was named a captain this year.”

 Herbine, who played at the collegiate level at the University of Maine, believes Martin has the right size and skillset that would translate into a successful collegiate level basketball player.

 “She has this desire to get better, and her personality is such that she’s it, whatever it is, she’s got it. I definitely see her, if she wants to, going to play (in college,)” Herbine said.

 To Martin, it sounds like the ideal game plan.

 “My goal is definitely to play at the highest level possible in college, but the school has to be the right fit for me academically because that is the priority,” Martin said.

 That shouldn’t be a problem. Aside from basketball, Martin is shaping up to an MVP academically, as she currently sits in the top 10 of her class.

 “She’s just a great all around kid,” Herbine said.


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