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Martin siblings take basketball talents to Allen Community College

Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 5:28 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Siblings Malachi and Tristian Martin grew up working on their game at nearby Fairbanks blacktops and will continue to share the same basketball court at the collegiate level. Malachi, the Lathrop Malemutes girls junior jarsity coach, and Tristian, the senior captain of the Lathrop varsity girls squad, signed their National Letters of Intent to play basketball at Allen Community College in Iola, Kanas.

“I have never gone anywhere where she didn’t follow,” Malachi said ahead of laughs from supporters at Lathrop High School Friday. “It is kind of like how our life as gone up to this point, so it should be pretty easy.”

“If I am ever frustrated or need help, I will always know I can call my brother or walk to his room to get some help,” added Tristian about the transition to college.

Following similar paths, the Martins began their basketball careers in Fairbanks, before living with their father in Georgia. Tristian returned to the Golden Heart City her junior year, while Malachi finished his high school basketball career at Milton High School, part of the 2019 graduating class. Beyond receiving good vibes from the coaching staffs and being able to stick together, there was another factor influencing Malachi and Tristian’s decision.

“We realized through our conversations [with the coaches] that our father used to go there and so it kind of feels like destiny,” said Tristian.

“All he ever has is good stuff to say [about Allen CC],” added Malachi.

Tristian made an instant impact when she joined the Lathrop program in 2019, collecting numerous all-tournament honors and was a member of the Mid Alaska All-Conference Team last season.

“He has definitely shaped me into the player I am today, with my aggression and how I play.” Tristian said of her brother’s guidance.

“It is a sibling thing, it has its ups and downs,” Malachi said of their basketball relationship. “I see her use the stuff that I try to tell her at some point, but she always acts like she doesn’t need to listen to me or whatever I am saying doesn’t matter because I am her brother,” he added with a smile behind his mask.

During Malachi’s youth basketball days in Fairbanks, he regularly turned heads with his skill and had the basketball community buzzing, even at a young age. Like many others, the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in Malachi’s post high school basketball plans. During his off year, he couldn’t help but stick around the game, leading the Lathrop JV team as head coach.

“As you can see, now coaching, I don’t know what I am doing without basketball,” Malachi said. “Being able to see the game from the sidelines and see how it looks...because it is easy to say ‘oh but I was open’ but now looking at it, I can see ‘yeah you were open, but two dribbles towards the basket was open too’, so it will help me in that way.”

Many high school athletes across the country have had their seasons completely wiped away over the last year. Fortunately for Tristian, the Malemutes are already over a dozen games into her senior season and are eyeing the state championships at the end of the month.

“Right now, the season means everything to me,” Tristian said. “We didn’t know if we were going to have a season and the recruiting process was a very stressful time for me. Being able to play this year with the team, it just feels amazing.”

Tristian also acknowledge how the Lathrop and Fairbanks basketball community has embraced her no matter where she was in the country. That also rings true for Malachi, who had to make the tough decision to leave his childhood friends to compete in Georgia.

“They always supported and they always let me know that they missed me and that they wished I was playing with them,” he said. “I feel like Fairbanks has always been a good support system for me, between my mom and my family and my friends who I eventually left, and now I am back and even now they all support me and can’t wait for me to move on or go wherever I need to go next.”

Although there is still unfinished business this season for Tristian and the Malemutes, she took a moment to reflect on what she will miss when she moves on from the program.

“I am really just going to miss the environment because we have become like sisters,” Tristian said. “When I came back, it already felt like home because everybody was like, ‘we are glad you’re back’. It was like a hug. Watching some of these freshman grow into the players they’re going to become when they’re seniors, I am really going to miss that.”

The Martins are a shining example of no matter where you may end up, the Fairbanks basketball community has your back.

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