Jenks Hoops With High Postseason Hopes After COVID Halted Run Last Year

Friday, February 26th 2021, 10:33 pm

JENKS, Okla. -

The Jenks Trojans were on the cusp of history last season, when the sports world suddenly shut down.

This year they're headed in the same direction, though their coach may have already fought his toughest battle.

One year ago, Jenks basketball was riding high, state tournament bound for the first time in five years, but then everything stopped.

"We were the matinee game last year in the final eight,” Jenks Head Coach Clay Martin said.

"We were on the bus when we found out. That was tough on us,” point guard Stephen Kittleman said.

Just like that, a season over, but COVID-19 never left the Trojans alone. Last month, amidst another strong start, Coach Martin tested positive.

"Just never got better. Symptoms intensified, ended up going to the hospital for about four nights and five days. Had double pneumonia. As aggressive as it was on the front end, I think my recovery's been just as aggressive,” Martin said.

"We all love Coach Martin. We really cherish having him here, so when he came back it was like a breath of fresh air,” Kittleman said.  

Martin is healthy and back on the sideline, the attention can turn to finishing the journey that they didn't even get to start last year.

"Definitely a little extra fire. We want to get back there, just like we did last year,” Kittleman said.

The Trojans begin regional play on Friday against Sand Springs, 20 days since their last game thanks to various delays – but don’t even think they’ll use that as an excuse.

"The thing is, we're not the only team that was home. Everybody else was home as well,” Martin said. "I think the opportunity to have another shot to get there is exciting, and maybe it does give us a little bit of extra juice."