Harlem point guard Chancellor Martin knows many of the guards in the Bulldogs' region.
She has grown up playing against them. She considers them nice people.
But that doesn't keep them from expressing aggravation when they face Martin and the Bulldogs.
Martin, who played at Glenn Hills last season, anchors the top of Harlem's 1-3-1 scheme. Opposing guards are having problems solving Martin, who was averaging almost seven steals per game.
"I'm sure it's intimidating," Harlem coach Amy Slagle said. "Now that the secret is out, unless they're confident in themselves -- like Ashley Watts of Butler -- I think they want to get rid of the ball as fast as possible."
It's often not fast enough.
Martin crouches from her position and tries to read the ball-handler's eyes and anticipate a pass based on what she thinks she would do on offense. The steals are usually converted into quick points at the other end, either by Martin or trailers including Ebony and Nicole Wells.
"I just watch the ball most of the time," Martin said. "I play the position, so it's not that hard to know what they're going to do next and watch their moves."
Martin's quick hands likely will lead to college opportunities. The senior has heard from Winthrop, Campbell and Middle Georgia but said she is not ready to make a decision.
She entered a good situation when her parents moved into the area before the school year. The Bulldogs were already equipped with a solid base in the Wells sisters. Senior Nicole gives the Bulldogs a consistent scorer on the wing, and sophomore Ebony holds down the post. Martin also has the help of her sister, junior Chade'.
But Chancellor Martin still feels the workload, often playing all but a couple of a game's 32 minutes. She said her responsibility is no different than when she played for the Spartans.
Her toughest adjustment might have been in the new environment, where she struggled to meet people her age.
"I just stay in the house most of the time," Martin said. "Coming into the new school was kind of tough, because I didn't know many people and making new friends was pretty hard."
But Slagle said it didn't take long for Martin to feel comfortable on the basketball floor.
"She fit in right off," Slagle said. "She's very likable, always has a smile on her face."
As Slagle said, it's easy to maintain the cheery attitude during a successful season, and the Bulldogs have had few stand in their way. A loss to Butler on Jan. 6 was their only slip-up.
The Bulldogs are 12-1 as they play through the second half of their region schedule. Butler earned Harlem's respect with its aggressive play, but Martin feels confident Harlem can compete for the Region 3-AAAA title.
"They were after you the whole game," Martin said of Butler. "We knew if we made a mistake, we'd have to get back and play defense. Now that I've seen all the teams, I think we have a good chance of working together and getting it done."
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