Claire Martin (30) defends a shot from a Lynnwood player.

Claire Martin (30) defends a shot from a Lynnwood player.

Bremerton’s Martin caps athletic career at Bellarmine

There were no large Kitsap County schools present at this season’s Hardwood Classic, but that does mean the West Sound did not have a presence at the Tacoma Dome. Enter Claire Martin.

By CHRIS CHANCELLOR

TACOMA — There were no large Kitsap County schools present at this season’s Hardwood Classic, but that does mean the West Sound did not have a presence at the Tacoma Dome.

Enter Claire Martin.

The 6-foot-4 Bellarmine Prep center, who helped lead the Lions to a sixth-place finish in Class 4A, lives in Bremerton. Each weekday morning, she wakes up at 5:45 a.m. and makes the drive across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in her Ford Escape.

“It takes like an hour to drive to Tacoma,” Martin said. “It’s pretty long, but I’m used to it.”

She mulled the decision about where to attend high school with her parents, Mary and Tim, until about a month before the start of her freshman year. The younger Martin attended Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic School in Bremerton.

Her decision comes with no regrets as she has developed into a standout athlete in two sports. Success on the hardwood never was a surprise as Martin’s mother is in the University of Idaho’s Hall of Fame and played professionally in Europe. Through her mother’s influence, Martin began playing basketball as a kindergartner.

But it is volleyball, which she only began playing as a freshman for the Lions, where she will compete in the future. During the fall, Martin committed to Washington State volleyball coach Jen Greeny. Martin said the decision was difficult at first for her mother, but because of the Palouse rivalry and not the sport she selected.

“My mom was a little heartbroken about that,” she said, laughing.

Martin said her mother now is “OK with it now,” but that does not mean others are not done hoping she might play basketball in the future at WSU.

“As good of a volleyball as she is, she’s probably a better skilled basketball player,” Bellarmine coach Kevin Meines said of Martin, who averaged 11. 5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game this season. “I hope she keeps playing basketball because I love watching her play.”

Martin said she is “pretty locked into volleyball,” but added that she would not rule out playing basketball again.

As long as she sticks with her plan, Martin should have an opportunity to compete against former Lions’ teammate Courtney Schwan, who plays at Washington. Schwan is an outside hitter for the Huskies.

“It will be fun to play against her,” Martin said. “We’re close friends.”

In addition to playing for the Cougars, Martin plans to major in engineering. That might mean an end for her commute as Martin hopes to use her degree to land a position at Naval Base Kitsap, where her father works, or Boeing.

Wherever her future leads, Meines said Martin will be an asset.

“Claire is one of those kids that comes around once a career,” he said. “She’s so talented and does so many things that go unnoticed. She’s one of those kids that coaches dream about.”

 

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