It's hard not to be impressed when you look at the Martinsville girls basketball team.
No matter what happens in sectionals, this team deserves to be praised for its perseverance and integrity.
This is a team that started out winning three of its first five games, then experienced a drop off, collecting 10 straight losses. They went 32 days between wins (though nicely framed between knocking off both Bloomington schools).
Let's be real — most of us would have thrown in the towel, accepted it as a rebuilding year and talked about how next year was going to be much better.
You could hardly blame them if they did. They've been dealt some blows that couldn't have been anticipated. It's tough to recover when two projected starters tell you they're leaving six days before the start of school.
Then came a three game stretch where they couldn't play because of COVID-19 restrictions.
After a two-week hiatus, they took the floor against rival Bloomington South. A last second putback was the difference in the exciting 42-41 triumph. They then proceeded to reel off three more wins to make it four in a row.
I'll say it again, I'm impressed.
It takes a lot to keep fighting when your record says 3-12. I've played on a team like that, and it's not easy to get psyched up to play when people dismiss you simply because of your record. It's a nice boost to see it flip to 7-12.
It takes good coaches and committed players to bring that desire to win.
I'm not forgetting about having supportive parents, family, administrators, teachers, staff, students and members of the community.
At the end of the day, the players have to dig deep and bring the effort on the court — and they have.
I'm a firm believer that effort counts as much as results in high school sports. Overcoming obstacles builds character, the kind that most of us don't enjoy developing in the moment, but find out later how much it made us into a better human being.
Not fun at the time, but the dividends go beyond the win, loss column.
Chin up, Martinsville. You have a lot to be proud of.
Hats off to head coach Dave Dorsett and the assistant coaches, players Delaney Wolfe, Haley Polston, Kearsten Willen, Ryan Owens, Emma Potter, Marina Rautenkranz, Holly Galyan, Paycee Lewis, Jade Mead, MacKenzie Martin, Trinity Jones and Maci Dorsett.
If you see any of the players or coaches, be sure to thank them for representing Martinsville proudly.
The Artesians face two Top 10 teams the rest of this week, but that doesn't diminish what they've accomplished. (Those two teams have a combined 38 wins and three losses.)
Martinsville will play in the Bloomington North sectional semi-final on Friday, Feb. 4 against either the host Cougars or No. 12 Columbus East. They received a first round bye.
Sports editor Julie Varnell can be reached at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on The Reporter Times: Don't miss the opportunity to recognize the Martinsville girls basketball team