To say that the Kentucky state basketball tournament is a family affair for the Martin clan of Clark County is an understatement. When Clark County (Kent.) High senior Michael Martin walked on to the court for the Sweet 16 round of the state tournament on Thursday, he joined every member of his immediate family except for one unlucky brother in having reached the state rounds of the Kentucky tournament.
According to the Lexington Herald-Leader's Mike Fields, Martin was preceded in the state round of 16 by his father, Wayne Martin, his mother, Kathy Goins Martin, his brother Chris Martin and his uncle Mike Goins, who has refereed at two state tournaments.
None of those members have contributed more to the family's state tournament legacy than Kathy Goins Martin, who played in the event for Anderson County (Kent.) High and coached in it with the girls basketball teams from both Rowan County (Kent.) High and Clark County.
"She's the best player in the family," Wayne Martin told the Herald-Leader.
The one Martin who missed out on the state tournament experience was Matthew Martin, who finished excruciatingly short of the event in both of his varsity seasons at Clark County. Matthew Martin's Clark County teams were eliminated in the regional finals by Mason County (Kent.) High in both 2003 and 2004, when Mason County was led by University of Tennessee legend Chris Lofton.
That setback -- as well as those suffered the past two years by Michael Martin's Clark County teams -- have made this year's state tournament run all the more special for the family, according to its patriarch.
"The anguish we went through with Matthew in the region, and with Michael the last two years, for Michael to finally make it makes this special," Wayne said.
It's not over yet, either. Martin's Clark County team knocked off Oldham County (Kent.) High, 56-39, earning a spot in the state quarterfinals against top ranked Eastern (Kent.) High.
Whether the Cardinals win or lose that game, the Martin family can rest easy knowing that another of its basketball-obsessed ranks has reached the state's hoops mecca. There's hope that this won't be the last trip, either. Chris Martin's five-year-old son, Will, was in attendance at his uncle Michael's Sweet 16 game on Wednesday, some 10 years before he'll get a shot at the event himself.