Martinez drops career high in Sleepy Eye win over RCW

Staff photo by Travis Rosenau Sleepy Eye’s Marcus Martinez (52) looks to shoot while guarded by Renville County West’s Jonathan Driggs (13) during a nonconference boys basketball game at Sleepy Eye High School. Martinez ended with a career-high 33 points in an 84-69 win.

SLEEPY EYE — Marcus Martinez’s post scoring not only led him to a career-high 33 points on Monday night, it also helped lead Sleepy Eye to a season-high in points as the Indians pulled out an 84-69 win over Renville County West in a nonconference boys basketball game.

Martinez, who has primarily been one of the team’s better perimeter shooters this season, still hit a trio of 3s on Monday. However, it was his inside game that helped him reach his career-high point total.

“[My teammates] saw that I had an advantage down low, so they fed me the ball, they were looking for me,” Martinez said. “I’m glad I made [the shots.] Took an extra dribble, put it up, don’t usually make those, but tonight was really good.”

Martinez added six rebounds, while Landon Wendinger had 20 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks. Isaac Lendt also had 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Indians.

The win moved the Indians to 16-8 on the season, doubling their win total from last season. The game wasn’t always smooth sailing for them, however, as RCW took a double-digit, 20-9 lead early in the first half after a corner 3 by Brayden Klaassen.

After a timeout and some adjustments defensively, the Indians responded and tied the game at 25-all on a mid-range jumper from Wendinger to force an RCW timeout with 4:53 left in the half. A putback by Wendinger gave the Indians their first lead, 27-25, since leading 1-0 to start the game after a Wendinger free throw, but the Jaguars quickly answered with a second-chance 3 by Griffin Howard.

Martinez scored back-to-back buckets inside, however, giving the Indians a 31-28 lead.

The Indians never trailed again after that and led 40-34 at halftime.

“We stepped up defensively,” Martinez said. “We had a firm talking to to step on them. We did, they couldn’t handle the pressure and we came down and we did our thing.”

After Wendinger put back his own miss, the Indians took a 65-45 lead midway through the second half.

In the closing minutes, Martinez was fouled while shooting and had his glasses knocked off of him in the process. Martinez said he just got glasses about three weeks ago for nearsightedness.

After wiping off and adjusting his glasses, Martinez made the first free throw. He decided to take the glasses off for his second attempt, which he casually knocked down regardless of how many baskets he was seeing to give Sleepy Eye a 76-59 lead.

“It was just blurry, but I thought, ‘Just got to throw it up there,’ [laughs],” Martinez said.

The Jaguars cut their deficit to 10 in the final two minutes, but Brayden Heiderscheidt’s 3 and free throw put the Indians back up 82-66 before they closed the game out for the win.

The 84 points passed Sleepy Eye’s previous season-high total of 79 points, which was scored in a win at Nicollet on Dec. 21, 2023.

“That is fantastic,” Martinez said. “It showed that we can be up there, we can have those high-point games and not let up.”

Sleepy Eye (16-8) hosts Madelia on Thursday night, while RCW (5-17) is at Minneota on Tuesday night.


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