Briggs & Stratton is a reliable place to turn if you’re looking for a powerful engine.
Briggs & Martin know how to propel a basketball team as well.
Lavender Jalissa Briggs and Kemery Martin, the two primary guards for the Colorado Premier girls basketball club 17u team, led their squad to a resounding finish Sunday at the Colorado’s Finest Exhibition with a 68-49 Elite Division victory over EJ Hoops 16u at the Colorado Christian Events Center. Briggs closed with 21 points and six rebounds, and Martin added 12 points and five assists as Colorado Premier jumped to a large early lead and never looked back.
In the open court, the two guards showed plenty of flair with the ball and got to the rim in myriad ways, but they also knew how to look for open teammates and meet coach Keith Van Horn’s expectation of good basketball plays. Either way, Colorado Premier was determined to wrap up the weekend with the title.
“It’s a team sport, and always good to involve everyone. It’s important to build chemistry and trust with each other, and this tournament was good for us,” said Martin, who will be a senior next fall at Corner Canyon HS in Draper, UT. “Good to get teammates the ball, and when you do that, everyone is happy, and it’s more fun to play. We’re also trying to realize that when we do get as lead, in big games like that, to not to let up.”
“We’re trying to make it fun for everyone; if you don’t then people won’t work hard. I think we really improved on our team’s offense, and that’s what we wanted to work on, really,” said Briggs, heading into her senior year at Provo (UT) High School. “We know leads can go away in a matter of minutes or seconds, and we wanted to play as hard as we would against anyone, to prepare ourselves.”
The EJ Hoops 16u team also had a nice tournament in reaching the finals, but Colorado Premier jumped ahead early, extending the lead to 36-18 with 42 seconds left before halftime on a spinning layup by Briggs. EJ Hoops would on occasion cut into the lead and get back within 10 or 12 points, but Colorado Premier always answered.
A step-back 3 from Briggs made it 59-45 with 4:30 left in the contest, and Martin wrapped the ball around her body before a layup at 3:22 to push the score to 61-46.
“It’s hard when you’re that talented, to not feel like you can do it by yourself. It can be a challenge to integrate them, but that’s something we’ve emphasized a lot because we have high-level players elsewhere,” said Van Horn, who starred collegiately at Utah and was the No. 2 overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft and played 11 years in the NBA. “It was great to see how the entire team moved the ball – I thought it was a very unselfish weekend for us.
“I told them after, these championship games are a grind. You’re tired, so you focus on playing defense and executing. It’s very rare to run away in a championship game, and you have to be prepared for the other team to make a run. Ultimately, our goal is to put kids in position to be successful on the court and secondly to get the win and do it the right way.”
Kali March had 10 points for EJ Hoops, and Jenna Siebert added nine points. The tournament also was a benefit event for the Colorado Women's Sports Fund Association.