The West Ottawa Panthers pulled up Mikayla Martinie to begin the 2011-2012 Girls Varsity Basketball campaign. “Mikayla starts for us and she started as a freshman too. I don’t regret moving her up. If I’m going to move someone up, they’re going to be a significant factor for us and I know Mikayla has done that and will continue to do it,” Girls Varsity Basketball Head Coach Jenna Plewes said.
She began her journey as a 5th grader playing in West Ottawa’s Little Panthers program where she developed a love and appreciation for the game. From there she refined her skills by playing at the Courthouse in Byron Center, Michigan. In middle school Martinie established her dominance on both the 7th and 8th grade teams and gave observers a hint of what was to come in high school.
Martinie plays the role of small forward most of the time, but her versatility is what makes her so deadly. “She’s just got a strong body so I can use her to guard a wing player and other times she can defend the team’s best post player. I use Mikayla a lot because of her versatility, so I rely on her to play a lot of minutes,” Plewes said. She sees and runs the floor well, she’s tall and athletic, she rebounds and knocks down shots; the upside to this sophomore’s game is tremendous.
Despite an abrupt end to an up-and-down season, Martinie still threw up quality numbers. She averaged about seven points per game and around nine rebounds per game while her free-throw percentage hovered around a respectable seventy percent throughout the season. “Mikayla was one of our leading rebounders last year and again this year. Her improvements are more offensively, she’s looking to score, also stepping outside and knocking down threes because she capable of shooting outside too. She’s doing it in practice and in games and I think her confidence has improved from last year to this year. She’s a great defender and she’s only a sophomore. She is a huge success for us,” Plewes said.
Although she has two years left as a Panther, Martinie is looking forward to playing basketball after her career at West Ottawa is over. “Basketball’s what she wants to play in college, and I think she’s definitely capable of continuing to advance her skills and play at the college level,” Plewes said. Martinie has dreamt of donning a uniform at Stanford, Michigan State, or Notre Dame and time will tell whether or not she’ll be given the opportunity. “I’ll just keep stacking up hours in the gym and keep trying to perfect my skills and I’ll see where it takes me,” Martinie said.
Martinie is the best up-and-coming basketball player in the West Ottawa Girls Basketball program right now and her skills make her someone to keep an eye on in the near future, but it’s her personality that makes Martinie someone West Ottawa students and alumni alike can be proud of. “It’s always nice to get publicity in the paper and it’s nice to get our players recognized, but Mikayla’s a humble person too where she doesn’t take it all for herself, she puts the team first in everything,” Plewes concluded.
Mikayla Martinie is one of the “Wopanthers.com NEXT Athletes of the Future” and every few weeks for the next few months check back for another athlete. This will inform students, parents, faculty, and everyone associated with West Ottawa about the skills and rising talent in the younger generations. “Wopanthers.com NEXT Athletes of the Future” will give people someone in particular to watch for in the coming years.