Pinkerton Academy sophomore Jackson Marshall jokes and messes around with his basketball teammates at practice to keep the mood light.
Once it is game time, his highly competitive side comes out.
“I’ve always hated losing,” Marshall said. “I used to cry in the front yard if I lost a basketball game against friends.”
The Hooksett resident’s competitive nature helped the Astros go 9-3 over their 12 NHIAA Division I regular-season games last month, over which he averaged 20 points and 11.3 rebounds and shot 58.2% from the field.
Marshall, 6-foot-7-inch, 240-pound forward, posted six double-double outings, led the Astros in scoring in five games and also totaled 31 assists, 15 steals and seven blocked shots last month.
Those numbers earned Marshall the January Apple Therapy Services/Bedford Ambulatory Surgical Center/Express MED Athlete of the Month award from the New Hampshire Union Leader Board of Judges.
Pinkerton fell to eventual Division I champion Trinity in the semifinals earlier this month.
“This guy, even in practice, is a competitor and I think that’s what makes him unique from a lot of people,” Pinkerton coach Dave Chase said of Marshall. “A lot of people feel that they’re competitive but he’s certainly made of that cloth.”
Marshall tallied a month- and team-high 30 points alongside 10 rebounds over 21 minutes on the court in Pinkerton’s 58-43 triumph over Keene on Jan. 15. One week later, he experienced his first Pinkerton-Londonderry game played in front of a packed gym when the Astros earned a 64-58 road win over their archrivals.
Marshall said he went into the Londonderry game excited and desperately wanting to beat the Lancers, who knocked Pinkerton out of the playoffs last year. He grabbed a month-high 13 rebounds and added 17 points and five assists for the Astros in the win.
“I like playing (in front of) the big crowd,” Marshall said. “It gets me going, it helps me score, helps me win and I think it sparks our team, too.”
Marshall’s production does not come from being the only notable scorer on Pinkerton’s roster. The Astros also boast another big offensive threat in junior guard Anthony Chinn, who averaged 17 points during the season and was MVP of the Greater Lowell Holiday Tournament, which Pinkerton won.
Chinn, his twin brother, Tyrone, and Marshall typically practice together at the New England Sports Center in Derry after school before Pinkerton’s team practice begins, and go to the gym together afterwards.
“Me, Ant and Ty really don’t care who scores as long as at least one of us is scoring but we usually find a way to get ours,” Marshall said.
As Marshall gets bigger and stronger as he gets older, he will be an even bigger problem for Division I opponents to guard, Chase said.
“If he continues to have that competitive attitude, I think the sky’s the limit,” Chase said.
Other athletes considered for the January honor were Pinkerton girls basketball player Liz Lavoie, Rivier University women’s basketball player Lyric Grumblatt, University of New Hampshire women’s basketball player Amanda Torres, Southern New Hampshire University women’s basketball player Meg Knollmeyer, New England College men’s hockey player Alex LaPlante and Bowdoin College women’s hockey player Izzi Stoddard.
Lavoie, a sophomore guard, averaged 17.2 points per game and led Pinkerton in scoring in four games over a 9-1 January run for the Astros.
Grumblatt, a sophomore guard from Manchester, averaged 27 points, nine rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.1 blocks over a 2-5 January campaign for Rivier.
Torres, a graduate student guard from Hudson, averaged 10 points, three assists and three rebounds and recorded her 1,000th career point as UNH went 1-8 in January.
Knollmeyer, a graduated student forward from Hampton, averaged 15.2 points and 12.1 rebounds and logged her 1,000th collegiate rebound over a 4-2 month for SNHU.
LaPlante, a junior forward from Londonderry, registered seven goals and four assists and recorded his first career hat trick over six January games for New England College. Stoddard, a senior forward from Concord, tallied five goals and two helpers over a 5-3 January run for Bowdoin.
To submit a nomination for future Athlete of the Month consideration, email the Union Leader Sports Department at firstname.lastname@example.org and enter “Athlete of the Month” in the subject line.