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March 13, 2013

Matt Jenkins column: Martin, Danvers’ fearless leader, makes Falcons tough in crunch time

(Continued)

He lacks the smooth skills most league MVPs possess, but he earned that honor by being intelligent, tough and, obviously, clutch.

“I don’t know (how that shot went in). That was crazy,” McKenna said. “We had a designed play for me to go out and get it, and they covered me quick. I saw Eric wide open and yelled to him to shoot. He wasn’t even looking at the hoop and just caught it and turned and threw it.

”It went in. It’s better to be lucky than good sometimes.”

There’s luck, but then there’s Martin luck. It would be surprising for most players to make a shot like that, but it’s become second nature for Martin to make something happen with the game on the line.

“Eric always seems to come up with big shots and big plays,” senior forward Dan Connors said.

It’s also a mistake to overlook Martin’s leadership. No matter how tense the situation may be, Martin brings a sense of calm to his comrades.

Last night, after each of the Vineyarders’ six fourth-quarter turnovers, Martin could be seen applauding his teammates for their effort. After surrendered baskets or committed fouls, he was there to remind the Falcons where they should have been.

Judging him simply by his six points and six assists against Martha’s Vineyard wouldn’t be fair.

This team, now 23-2 and one win away from back-to-back state titles, developed a rallying cry late in the season, and it was one that was born out of Martin’s effort.

“We’ve been saying the last couple weeks ‘sell out’. It’s our senior year, we’ve got four senior captains, everyone needs to sell out,” McKenna said.

“Eric exemplifies that in every way. He sells out every single play he’s on the court. It motivates everyone because if you’re not playing as hard as Eric, he’s going to let you know about it and you gotta step it up.”

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