Oak Ridge tabs Martin for basketball position

Thursday, April 7, 2005

Oak Ridge became the second area high school to fill its boys basketball coaching vacancy when it recently hired Jackson assistant John Martin as its new head coach.

The Bluejays are coming off a 10-14 season which included a runner-up finish in the Mississippi Valley Conference tournament. Oak Ridge enjoyed a six-game winning streak midway through the season and finished with a loss to Oran in the first round of the Class 1 District 2 tournament.

"I'm pretty excited about the opportunity Oak Ridge has given me," Martin said.

Martin has been an assistant at Jackson the past five years, coaching the junior varsity team. Martin led the Jackson JV to an 18-4 record this past season. Before his time at Jackson, Martin was an assistant at Kelly for two years and was head coach at Zalma for two seasons.

For Martin, who lives in Jackson, taking the Oak Ridge job was a good chance to get back to being a head coach while staying close to home.

"I graduated from Jackson, I've taught there and coached there," he said. "I've been waiting to be a head coach for a while."

Oak Ridge is expected to return its top player in Austin Hahs, a 6-foot-2 junior who averaged 18.7 points and 15.4 rebounds a game last season.

"I'm ready to jump in both feet and get to work," Martin said.

Noon Optimist tourney

The Noon Optimist Spring Classic girls soccer tournament begins today with a new site and the guarantee of a new champion.

The tournament moves from Notre Dame to Central this year. Also, defending champion Jackson is skipping the event to play in the Springfield Kickapoo Tournament.

The eight-team tournament will bring together nearly all of the area's soccer teams in one field. Central, Notre Dame, Perryville and St. Vincent are joined by Sikeston, Poplar Bluff, Farmington and Marion, Ill.

Today's matchups pit Poplar Bluff against St. Vincent at 4 p.m., Sikeston versus Perryville at 4 p.m., Notre Dame against Marion at 5:30 p.m. and Central versus Farmington at 7 p.m.

The championship game is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday.

Lacrosse in town

The 3-year-old Central lacrosse club plays its only home game of the season 6 p.m. Friday evening against Wentzville.

The Missouri Scholastic Lacrosse Association game will be played at Southeast Missouri State's intramural fields, near the Southeast tennis complex.

Introducing baseball

Another school has joined Saxony Lutheran in fielding a high school baseball team for the first time this year.

Eagle Ridge Christian School in Cape Girardeau opened its inaugural season Tuesday with a doubleheader against Elite.

Eagle Ridge, coached by Cliff Simmons, will play its home games at Arena Park. They play today at New Salem Baptist in Marble Hill. The next scheduled home game is April 19 against Saxony Lutheran, followed by April 21 against New Salem and April 28 against Saxony.

College notes

* Notre Dame graduate Lee Essner is hitting .344 for the Maryville University baseball team. He is tied for the team lead with 17 runs scored through 18 games. On the mound, Essner has made three appearances spanning 3 2/3 innings. He is 2-0 and has not allowed a run.

* Central graduate Sean Bard is leading Mineral Area College's baseball team in hitting with a .362 batting average to go along with 21 RBIs. Mineral Area is 12-15 this season.

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