MARTINSVILLE -- After getting thumped 76-31 against a tall Notre Dame de La Salette Academy (6-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 starters and a 6-11 player off the bench) to open the campaign at the Tri-County Turkey Tourney, Martinsville looked for its first win Tuesday as they played host to Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond. The Bluestreaks are to play host to Dugger Union, Ind., Friday.
For the Bluestreaks and coach Obie Farmer, who are coming off a year that saw them go 4-25 (1-4 LOVC Southeast Division) after going 1-26 in the 2015-16 season, the main goal is to get a little bit better, every day.
The Bluestreaks lost height and production due to the graduation of two seniors last season in 6-5 center Clay Gardner, who averaged 12.1 points per game and Dakota Youngwolfe (8.5 points per game), 6-2, but Martinsville does return two-time JG-TC All-Area first team guard Dalton Rollings.
Rollings, a 6-1 junior, was a first team LOVC SE Division player last season after leading the Bluestreaks in scoring 19.9 points per game, which was second in the JG-TC area. He shot 51 percent from the field and 77 percent from the free throw line, along with averaging just over four assists and three steals a game, all of which led Martinsville.
To put just how dynamic Rollings was for Martinsville, the Bluestreaks averaged 51 points per game as a team, and Rollings produced 20 of those points night in and night out.
“Dalton Rollings has been a two time TC-JG area player so we expect big things to continue to come out of him,” said Farmer. “In the past, if we have needed a big stop or a bucket, he is usually the kids we look to. What is great about Dalton is that he doesn't just make shots and play defense. He makes his teammates better. He pushes them to work hard and we are seeing Martinsville basketball get better because of it."
But don’t expect it to be a one-man show for Martinsville this season.
Coach Farmer mentioned senior guard Garron Haenig and freshmen Grand Haenig and Colin Branson as players expected to contribute this season. Garron Haenig averaged 4.6 points per game last season.
“I also expect some great things from Garron Haenig this year. He is a six foot senior guard that plays hard for us,” said Farmer. “Grant Haenig and Colin Branson are two freshmen that you should expect to see on the floor for us from time to time. They both understand the game, and work very hard for the time they are given.”
A total of five seniors, two juniors, three sophomores and five freshmen make up the 15 players in the program. Boyce Snearly, a junior, averaged 2.9 points per game, while classmate Colton Probst averaged two points.
Martisnville averaged 51 points per game last year, while allowing 65.9. The Bluestreaks were 3-5 in games decided by 10 points or less.
The year is to be full of small-ball for Martinsville, as the tallest player on the roster is 6-1, but despite the size disadvantage, the Bluestreaks are to look to run their way into contention in games.
“We are very fast and in great shape,” Farmer said. “We prepare for each game like it is against the best team on our schedule. By the end of the season, if we get a little better everyday, we will be exponentially better by the time Regional play get here."