The odometer on Jenny Martin’s Lexus RX 350 gets a workout to the tune of 35,000-plus miles per year.
It comes with the territory, which in the case of the 1997 Indiana girls basketball All-Star from Center Grove High School is all of Indiana, central Illinois and the western half of Kentucky.
As a sales representative for Boston Scientific Medical Sales, Martin works with physicians in an attempt to better treat patients with arrhythmia. That means frequently being in the operating room, observing heart-related surgeries.
“First of all, I love what I do. It’s a very competitive industry. You build a relationship with a physician, and you go through a procedure with them,” said Martin, who, unfortunately, has witnessed a few worst-case scenarios. “When someone dies, it’s intense. As a sales rep, the first thing you do is get out of the room.
“The first time you walk out of the room and think, ‘Man, that sucks.’
But 99 percent of the time it’s a happy ending.”
Martin has a successful career today, just as she did as a 5-foot-8 guard/forward for the Trojans’ girls basketball program from 1993 to 1997.
By scoring 13 points and grabbing four rebounds in Center Grove’s 55-44 victory against Valparaiso in the 1996 state championship game — the second-to-last of its kind before the introduction of the class format —
Martin, then a junior, celebrated with teammates in front of 12,804 spectators inside Market Square Arena.
Her 12 points, four boards and four assists were crucial in the Trojans’ semifinal dusting of Kokomo earlier that day.
Fact is, whatever the Trojans needed at a given time, former Center Grove coach Joe Lentz remembers, Martin could — and often did — deliver.
“Jenny was one of those girls whose motor never stopped. She always could find ways to score whether it was the drive or the outside shot,” said Lentz, who guided Center Grove’s program for 15 seasons (1994-2009) and is now girls basketball coach at Ben Davis.
“I remember as a senior Jenny, who didn’t like to shoot the 3-pointer, hitting a big ‘3’ to beat Martinsville during the regular season at our place,” Lentz added.
“That was the only loss (Martinsville) had that season.”
Those 1996-97 Artesians would go on to win the final single-class title. The Trojans advanced to the Southport Semistate but were ousted by Katie Douglas-led Perry Meridian in the afternoon semifinal, 62-61.
It would be the final time Martin wore a Center Grove basketball uniform.
She remains a force within the Trojans’ record book, though, ranking second in career points (1,275), first in both season field-goal percentage (.638 in 1995-96) and field goals in a single game (15). She is second in career field goals (382), fourth in career free throws (235) and fifth all-time in steals (219).
The Center Grove teams Martin started for her final two seasons were, as Lentz likes to say, pick-your-poison types.
Double-team Martin, and she would find any number of talented teammates to pass the basketball — including forward and fellow 1997 Indiana All-Star Liz Stansberry and guard Emily Butler, a member of the 1999 All-Star Team who would go on to play at Northwestern University.
Running the show with remarkable poise was 5-4 point guard Venus (Harmeyer) Thorne, a classmate of Martin’s.
“Honestly, I just did what the team needed from me for each game. We had so many girls who could do so many things,” Martin said. “As talented as the teams were, the girls were friends. We grew up playing basketball together.
“Venus, Liz and I all had basketball goals in our driveway, and we would rotate where we played on weekends.”
Thorne remembers those times well.
“We just loved to play, and Jenny played through a lot of injuries people didn’t know about. She was pretty tough,” said Thorne, who played basketball and two seasons of softball at Cleveland State University and is now vice president at Northpointe Engineering & Surveying in Indianapolis.
“Jenny was the ultimate teammate. Unselfish,” Thorne said. “You put her in another program, and she probably averages 10 of 15 more points a game. She didn’t care about that. All she cared about was winning.”
Martin narrowed her list of potential college destinations to two, Miami of Ohio and Boston College, when she heeded the words of former Center Grove volleyball coach Deb McClurg.
“She said, ‘If you were to get a season-ending injury the first day of school, would you still want to go to that school?’” said Martin, who chose Miami for geographical reasons as much as anything, as Oxford, Ohio, is 82 miles east of Greenwood.
“My parents never missed a home game. They were great,” Martin said. “Looking back it’s so awesome they made it to almost every college game I played.”
As Miami senior in 2000-01, Martin finished as the team’s third-leading scorer (8.2 ppg) while adding 1.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists. The Red Hawks finished 18-11 overall and 11-3 in the Mid-American Conference standings.
Four of the best performances Martin enjoyed at Miami occurred early in her senior season when she scored 23 in an 83-68 victory at Butler, 20 in a home win against Akron and 14 apiece in road losses to Kent State and Northern Illinois.
On the road again
Though her Center Grove athletics legacy focuses more on basketball, Martin lettered four years in track and field for then-coach Carol Tumey. Martin specialized in the 400-meter relay and long jump to finish her career with eight varsity letters.
“Sometimes it seems like it was forever ago, and sometimes it doesn’t,” Martin said of her high school days.
Martin in her own mind achieved perfect timing when it came to her role in Center Grove’s ever-expanding girls basketball history.
Graduating the year she did allowed Martin, who remains somewhat awed by the standing-room-only crowd inside 7,100-seat Southport Fieldhouse for the semistate her senior season, to never have to play for the Trojans as a Class 4A entity.
“I’m actually glad I missed it,” she said of class basketball. “The crowds aren’t the same. ... The nostalgia left when the single-class system left.”
Her calendar now a flurry of road dates, Martin is on the road often as she attempts to demonstrate to physicians the benefits of Boston Scientific’s version of catheters, ultrasound imaging equipment, etc.
“My job is a lot more clinical. More hands-on and walking them through,” said Martin, whose job also requires her to attend quarterly training in order to keep up with the fast-changing medical supplies field.
“In this career you kind of take it day-by-day. I do love my job, and I’ve got two nephews and a niece I get to hang out with when I’m home. They’re so much fun.”
Regarding the constant use of her automobile, Martin insists a solution is well within her reach.
“Thank goodness for satellite radio,” she said, laughing.