Caroline Martin was perplexed.
Entering her senior year at North Forsyth, she already had quite the resume. She’d helped lead the Raiders to the best multi-year girls basketball run in school history, and was named Forsyth County News Player of the Year. After two consecutive Final Four appearances, though, she saw a big change when she looked at the tape of her junior season — and it wasn’t a good one.
“I can't explain it,” Martin said. “Just when I would go back and watch sophomore year to junior year, “I was like, 'There's a difference.' This was normal Caroline and this was the Caroline who didn't have confidence in herself.”
So regaining that confidence back became a key mission during her senior season, and after averaging 15 points per game and shooting nearly 50 percent from the field, she certainly built it back up.
Martin and the Raiders couldn’t
make it back to the Final Four for a third straight time, but when she looks
back, she’s still immensely proud of everything her group has done together.
“I feel like I played an important role, but nothing would have been able to happen if it wasn't for (my teammates),” Martin said. “We came together as a team, so we can't just say one individual. Yeah, I scored a lot of points, but that's because of the passes that we made, how we practiced together. It just all glued together.
“I felt like we definitely left behind a legacy that people are going to have to live up to.”
As a point guard, confidence is an important attribute to have. While Martin did a lot on her own to build it up, her teammates also played a big role in that endeavor.
“Vekondja Ogbogu is the most important one,” Martin said. “She would always be like, ‘Listen, you take it. Don't pass it to anyone. Take it to the hoop and don't look around the court. You go.’ She was always the one that would be like, ‘I know you can do it. I have confidence in you, you need to have confidence in yourself.’
“You have to have confidence in your team and your other players because you're passing to them, you're expecting them to do something with it. I guess my confidence came out when I realized I had to have confidence in other people.”
Martin felt like she improved in a basketball sense as well. In the offseason, she took lessons and improved her shot, which helped her be more comfortable in different scoring situations.
Martin’s next journey won’t be that far from Coal Mountain. She’s signed to continue playing basketball at the University of North Georgia, a school she’s had eyes on for a long time.
“It's always felt like home,” Martin said. “Every time I've went up there, I've been like ‘I want to go here.’ I used to always talk to (former North head coach Eric) Herrick and be like, ‘I want to go to North Georgia.’ Everyone has that D1 (school) where you want to go, of course, but I've always loved North Georgia. The place is amazing, Dahlonega is beautiful and I'm so excited.”
But even when she’s fully moved on from North, Martin won’t forget the unprecedented success her team had and the memories she’s made with her teammates. She’s planning on making sure those friendships continue well beyond high school.
“We went through a lot together,” Martin said. “We played since sixth grade together. We're all best friends. Throughout college we're not going to leave each other behind. We're always going to be talking to each other and going to visit one another. I know that everyone will come watch me play, but also going to see each other at all of our colleges.”