Performance: Big Rapids' Demetri Martin
December 15, 2016
Big Rapids senior – Basketball
To finish last season, Martin led unranked Big Rapids to its first MHSAA Semifinals and within a basket of playing for the Class B championship. He began his senior campaign with another, more individual highlight; the 6-foot-4 guard scored his 1,000th point in a 65-50 win over Grant on Friday to earn the Michigan National Guard “Performance of the Week.” Martin, a four-year starter, finished with 31 points and 12 rebounds against Grant and added 24 points and 10 rebounds in Tuesday’s 63-43 win over Lakeview.
Martin also was the team’s leading scorer last season, averaging 19.5 points per game along with 8.8 rebounds before scoring a team-high 22 in a 61-60 Class B Semifinal loss to Stevensville Lakeshore. After, he was named Central State Activities Association Gold Player of the Year for the second time and made the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan all-state team. This winter, Martin is teaming with senior Christian Hector, junior Braeden Childress and others including sophomore brother and starting point guard Dorian Martin with hopes of returning to the championship mix. Demetri Martin entered this season needing 21 points to reach 1,000 for his career, and nearly pulled off the feat in the first quarter of that first game. He worked this summer on adding a longer pull-up jumper, and he went over 1,000 swishing a pull-up 3-pointer from NBA range.
Just as impressive over his four years of high school has been Martin’s climb academically. In his words, Martin entered high school with all Ds and was barely academically eligible to play basketball as a freshman, frequently skipping school before and after that season. But he’s now pulling As and Bs and plans to study for a career either in education or sports medicine. He'll surely play college basketball at some level – most of his interest has come from Division II schools but he's also had contact from one in Division I.
Coach Kent Ingles said: “He’s obviously the best player in (our) area, and the best player we’ve had in a while … and he’s following a couple pretty good kids into the mix. He’s a multi-position player; he’s actually pretty unselfish. He’d rather pass the ball than shoot it. He’s been with me four years, and we’ve won three conference championships and been to the Quarter(finals) two times. … I told him we’ll be a good team when our best player is our hardest worker, and he’s done that too. He is a real success story. He’s a neat kid. He’s bubbly, he’s fun to talk to, he’s kinda hyper and can’t sit still. But he’s grown up a lot as a young man and as a basketball player, and we’re happy to see the total development with him."
Performance Point: “Not many people can score 1,000 points, so for me to get that, it just means a lot to me,” Martin said, “that all the hard work I put in is starting to show. I thought about (the 1,000th point) for a couple of months once I found out how far (away) I was, and I was thinking I can get this in the first quarter if I actually try. I ended up with 17 (points in the first quarter), but I was just taking it slow. If I would’ve kept that scoring streak going, I probably could’ve gotten it in the first quarter.
Breslin dreams come true: “Half the state (last season) probably didn’t even know where Big Rapids is. We weren’t ranked. We’re not in the Grand Rapids area. So it’s, where is this team from? And then we show up, and everyone probably expected a blowout. (But) in the beginning of the season, before we even started practicing, I was talking to some of my old teammates and I said, ‘We’ll probably make it to Breslin this year, you know that?’ We did. We made it. We were a lot better than what we played. … Since this is my last year, I know what we have to do to get there again, and I want to try my best to get there.”
Preparing the future: “My freshman year, I was just a rebounder. I picked up the leadership stuff from (2014 graduates) Quinn Tyson, Jake Hayes, Austin Hayes; they passed me the torch, so sophomore year I would lead but not like last year when I was leading the team and obviously one of the go-to guys. (This season) I’m trying to tell (my teammates) what to do and what not to do, how the game should be played so they can score 1,000 points in their careers too, so they can lead other future Big Rapids teams. I don’t want to go out as just a scorer who didn’t really teach the kids anything.”
Football’s a hit: “I played football for the first time (this fall). It was pretty fun. I wasn’t the go-to player, so it was different. But blocking was probably the best – you get to slam people. Tryouts had already passed, but the night before two-a-days I had a dream, and I was like man, I’m going to go out and try out for football, and I knew coach wanted me to play. … I’m glad that I played, and I got physically stronger too.”
Continuing to make a difference: “I want to become a teacher … because my coach (assistant Blake) Thomas, when I came here and then I was struggling a little bit in classes, he’d invite me over and we’d study on this, and that brought my grades up a lot. To help someone out like that, and not even know them, I think that’s something some kids need and I want to do that. Sports medicine, I injure myself a lot, so if there is someone who has these problems like me, I would help them out.”
- Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor
Every week during the 2016-17 school year, Second Half and the Michigan National Guard will recognize a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.
The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our nation's freedom or protect lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster.
Previous 2016-17 honorees:
Dec. 1: Rodney Hall, Detroit Cass Tech football – Read
Nov. 24: Ally Cummings, Novi volleyball – Read
Nov. 17: Chloe Idoni, Fenton volleyball – Read
Nov. 10: Adelyn Ackley, Hart cross country – Read
Nov. 3: Casey Kirkbride, Mattawan soccer – Read
Oct. 27: Colton Yesney, Negaunee cross country – Read
Oct. 20: Varun Shanker, Midland Dow tennis – Read
Oct. 13: Anne Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country – Read
Oct. 6: Shuaib Aljabaly, Coldwater cross country – Read
Sept. 29: Taylor Seaman, Brighton swimming & diving – Read
Sept. 22: Maggie Farrell, Battle Creek Lakeview cross country – Read
Sept. 15: Franki Strefling, Buchanan volleyball – Read
Sept. 8: Noah Jacobs, Corunna cross country – Read
PHOTOS: (Top) Demetri Martin glides around a defender during last week’s win against Grant. (Middle) Martin drives to the hoop as Big Rapids went on to a 65-50 victory. (Photos courtesy of the Big Rapids athletic department.)
For Their Teams, For Each Other, St. Mary Seniors Team Up 2 More Times
By Tom Spencer
Special for MHSAA.com
March 17, 2023
Shawn Bramer and Dylan Barnowski, as middle schoolers, attended the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals every year.
Last year, they nearly played in the Division 3 title game – falling in a Semifinal but almost making a dream come true for the then-juniors and their Lake Leelanau St. Mary coach, Matt Barnowski, also Dylan’s father.
That dream began for some when the boys were coached by Matt as third graders, and they made serious strides last season. Before last winter, the last time the Eagles had won a Regional championship was 1950 – and no St. Mary boys basketball team had reached the Semifinals. Bramer and Dylan Barnowski – along with current seniors Jack Glynn, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar – had high hopes of making more history this winter.
The dream ended Wednesday night with a Regional Final loss to Frankfort, which St. Mary had defeated 54-41 during the regular season. This time, the Eagles were faced with a large number of K-12 students succumbing to illness – with all five of its starters at least somewhat sick – as nearly a third of the school’s tiny enrollment was out of school the day after the loss to the Panthers.
But you won’t hear any of the players or coaches making excuses. They give all the credit to Frankfort, and they’re ready to move on. And many in the LSM family know reaching the Regional Finals this season and Breslin Center in 2022 had absolutely no probability had Bramer and Barnowski not made an iron-clad agreement last summer.
The two friends vowed to help each other despite their personal, opposing challenges.
Barnowski and Bramer, through LSM’s cooperative agreement with Suttons Bay, went 3-for-3 playing in 8-Player Division 1 Football Finals during their first three years of high school. But through last summer Barnowski, who quarterbacked the Norseman, had no interest in football.
Bramer, meanwhile, had been nursing a quad tendon injury since his sophomore football season and battling two bad knees but was thinking he could suffer though football and sit out the basketball season to recover. The all-state running back experienced training difficulties and even had his strength training severely hampered.
Football was king for Bramer, and he also loved basketball too. Basketball is number one to Barnowski. The longtime friends decided cut a deal to help each other — and their teammates — out.
“I was kind of on the edge,” said Bramer, who plays with braces on both knees. “After talking to each other, we both ended up just playing.
“I really shouldn’t be playing sports, but I couldn’t miss out playing with my friends,” he continued. “We just figured it was our last season so we might as well just do it.”
Barnowski had been considering ending his football days immediately after the Norse fell short in their third-straight trip to the Finals, at Superior Dome in Marquette in Fall 2021. That loss was at the hands of Adrian Lenawee Christian 31-20.
The Norseman graduated most of their offensive and defense lines last spring and expected to be small in numbers. Until this fall, they had lost only one regular-season game on their way to three straight title game appearances. This year they finished 3-5.
The big linemen losses — Barnowski’s protection — was forcing him to weigh his injury risk against having a senior basketball season.
“We did it for each other,” Barnowski said. “I talked with Shawn, and we knew we had a big community behind us and it would be hard for them if we just quit.
“I knew we weren’t going to have the same powerhouse team we had,” he continued. “We weren’t very good this year, but we still had a blast.”
This week’s loss put an end to the possible Breslin championship finish, but it left the friends happy with the decision to play both sports. The Eagles finished 20-4.
Barnowski led St. Mary in scoring. He averaged better than 20 points a game with more than seven rebounds and five assists. Bramer averaged just under 15 points per game, and almost 10 rebounds.
The two big men each scored 11 in the season-ending loss. Thompson scored 14. This year’s senior-dominated team likely will be remembered for its basketball success for some time. Barnowski, Bramer and Glynn experienced only one loss in District play over their four seasons.
“It’s a really special groups of kids,” Coach Barnowski said. “These kids kind of transformed St. Mary’s basketball.
“They’ve really built the program,” he continued. “It’s been a roller coaster ride.”
Bramer and Dylan Barnowski also played baseball in the past for the Eagles, but that likely won’t happen this spring. Barnowski plans to golf, and Bramer expects to sit the spring season out and heal.
“We’ll never forget these last four years of varsity we played,” Barnowski said. “I‘ve decided to go a more relaxing route, and I’m going for some golf.”
With their Breslin dream over, the friends are ready to enjoy the St. Mary’s community support and move on. They’re bummed so many were sick in the end but won’t use it as an excuse.
“Hats off to Frankfort,” Barnowski said. “They did an incredible job of shutting us down.”
“They just played their game better than we did,” he said. “They took the lead at the end of the third quarter, and it was a battle from there.”
Tom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at email@example.com with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.
PHOTOS (Top) St. Mary’s seniors Dylan Barnowski, left, and Shawn Bramer hold up the team’s District championship trophy last week. (2) Eagles coach Matt Barnowski, center, and assistant Sander Scott coach up their team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick. (3) Dylan Barnowski and Bramer also teamed up during successful football careers. (4) St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Bramer, Jack Glynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. (Sideline photo by Tom Spencer; player photos by Emmerson Lamb Photography.)