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Jaden Martin becomes third River Hill boys basketball player to reach 1,000 career points

Highlights from Martin’s special night against Glenelg on Feb. 15. (Kyle Stackpole / BSMG)

HOWARD COUNTY, MD — Senior guard Jaden Martin joined elite company on Thursday night, becoming the third player in River Hill boys basketball history to score 1,000 career points.

By scoring 21 points against Glenelg, Martin joins Charlie Thomas IV (2011-15) and Kevin Steenberge (1998-2002) as the only Hawks boys players to reach the milestone.

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"It pushes me to play harder, and it shows the work I'm doing at practice is paying off," Martin said. "So, now that I'm there, I just want more and I want more, so it's pushing me to be a better player each and every day."

The accomplishment came midway through the fourth quarter with River Hill holding a 45-44 advantage. With his back to the basket, Martin received a post pass just outside the left block. He quickly pivoted towards the hoop, split two Glenelg defenders and burst across the lane.

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With no Gladiators there to help, Martin brought the Hawks home crowd to its feet by converting the open layup.

The referees stopped the game, and for a moment, everyone's eyes fixated on the Hawks' fourth-year starter. Martin threw his hands in the air to further provoke the already raucous crowd. He embraced his teammates. Then he made his way to midcourt, where he posed for pictures as the announcer detailed the rare achievement.

Martin wasn't hellbent on scoring 1,000 points on Thursday night, knowing River Hill still had at least one 2A state playoff game on the horizon. Plus, the Hawks were in contention to win a second straight outright county title.

So, before the game, coach Matt Graves reminded his leading scorer not to put too much pressure on himself.

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"Graves told me to let the game come to me," Martin said. "He said, 'I know you're 21 points away, but just do what you do and just play and then you'll score.'"

Brent Kennedy, Tim Schwartz and Kyle Stackpole discuss the latest in Howard County sports in this edition of Howard County Times Sports Podcast.

Brent Kennedy starts the podcast by asking Kyle Stackpole about the boys basketball teams who have shown they can compete with River Hill atop the county.

At the 1:30 mark, Kyle touches on Wilde Lake, which seems to have found its rhythm after a tough start to the season. Brent and Kyle also talk about who among the other middle-tier teams have the potential to jump into the top tier.

At the 7:20 mark, Kyle sits down with River Hill seniors Jacob Krause, Jaden Martin and Dylan Daniels and asks the trio about their current success, the emergence of Krause as a scoring threat and what the Hawks can still improve on.

The focus shifts to the county landscape at the 10:58 mark, with the players describing some teams they think have overachieved or underperformed and the opposing players that have stood out this year. The players also give their Super Bowl picks.

With River Hill’s toughest stretch of the season on the horizon, the trio explains at the 17:25 mark what needs to happen for the team to keep winning games. Do that, and the Hawks will be county champions for the second straight year.

The game did not begin as Martin envisioned. The referees called him for a charge on the Hawks first possession, and Martin had his shot blocked on their second trip down the floor. Moments later, his midrange jump shot missed the rim entirely.

But as he's done all season, Martin found his offensive rhythm. He converted a layup and drilled a 3-pointer later in the first quarter and carried that momentum into the second period. He hit another layup. Then a floater from the elbow as the shot clock expired. By halftime, Martin (11 points) scored half of his team's points and more than half of what he needed entering the game to join the Hawks' 1,000-point club.

And after adding eight points in the third period, his lone fourth-quarter basket was enough to attain the honor.

"I got my shot blocked three times early, and I was like, 'OK, this might not be [it],'" Martin said, "and then the shots started falling and I was like, 'Here we go.'"

"It just felt good after I started making some shots."

Despite falling to Glenelg, 52-49, River Hill (13-3 county, 18-4 overall) won at least a share of the county title for the second straight year and could enter the 2A South, Section I playoffs as the No. 1 seed, depending on Oakland Mills' result against Dundalk on Monday.

Martin is a significant reason for the program's recent success. After earning first-team All-County honors last year, he's one of the league's top scorers at 16.3 points per game. And by the end of his high school career, he could join Thomas and Steenberge with another award: Howard County boys basketball Player of the Year.

However, for now, Martin is focused on leading the Hawks to their first regional title since 2007 and perhaps even further than that.

"He's been our cog," Graves said. "He's been the guy we lean on when we need a big basket, when we need a big play. He knows that."

Reach Kyle Stackpole at kstackpole@baltsun.com or follow him on Twitter @kylefstackpole

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