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Platt vs. Newington

January 6, 2011
By Carlos Carrero of Orville H Platt High School

By: Toby Carmody | Posted: Thursday, December 30, 2010 9:17 pm 

MERIDEN -Damika Martinez set Platt's all-time girls basketball scoring record last week against East Catholic of Manchester.

If you happened to be in attendance for Thursday's matchup between the Panthers and Newington, it was pretty obvious why.

Martinez poured in a game-high 35 points to lead Platt to a 61-54 CCC interdivisional victory over the visiting Indians, improving the Panthers' record to 5-2.

"She is as tough as they come," Platt coach Tom Johnson said. "She was in foul trouble today, but she handled herself so well. I don't know what we would do without her."

Martinez was coming off a 27-point night against East Catholic, when she surpassed Kelly Penwell's record of 1,472 points, a record that had stood since 1990.

"It was fantastic to see her get the record," Johnson said. "She deserves it. With all the hard work she has put in over the years, she absolutely deserves it. Getting the record against East Catholic, who held her to four points last year, was a significant accomplishment as well."

Martinez, who signed with Division I Iona on Nov. 10, certainly knows how to fill up a stat sheet. Along with her 35 points on Thursday, which included five 3-pointers, she pulled down 12 rebounds and totaled five assists, three steals and two blocks.

"When (Newington) started playing man-to-man defense it opened up the floor and it was easier to get to the basket," Martinez said. "As a team we played well today."

Platt sealed the win with some clutch shooting from the charity stripe in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. The Panthers held a slim 45-44 advantage with 6:18 remaining, but Martinez carried her team the rest of the way, scoring eight points in the final five minutes, five of which came from the line.

"I thought we played extremely well tonight," said Johnson. "Newington had two great guards and we tried to keep them down. Our defense was impressive all game."

The Platt defense forced 13 turnovers, but Newington managed to stay within striking distance virtually the entire game. Kristina Forsman and Briyana Pabon led the way for the Indians (4-3), scoring 20 and 16, respectively. Pabon nailed three treys, two of which came in the fourth quarter.

Platt received contributions from senior Elisa Plaza, who registered a double-double with 10 points and grabbed 10 boards, and Christina Alicea, who chipped in with eight points and seven rebounds.

"I think if we continue this type of play we could challenge for the (CCC South)," Johnson said. "We have a shot at it. We just have to maintain our intensity the rest of the way."

Platt's defense and solid shooting down the stretch were key, but Martinez was the story Thursday.

"(The scoring record) was just another accomplishment that I had set as a goal in my life," she said. "It felt good to do it, but this season isn't all about scoring, I want to get my team to the next level. That's all that really matters. I want to get a banner up on the wall for the first time in a long time."

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