We finally found some video of Kobe Bryant’s one spectacular game at Martz Hall in Pottsville.
Somehow, just about any big game in PIAA history found its way to YouTube or the internet in some manner.
And we’re talking “very far” back … like Handycam footage.
Video of Kobe Bryant at Martz Hall, circa 1996, Surfaces
If you weren’t around in the mid-1990s, pretty much any game, practice, or layup drill involving Kobe was a big deal. Huge, really.
So, it was surprising not to be able to find video of Kobe playing at Martz Hall.
Though he only played here in Pottsville just once, it was a big game for his Lower Merion Aces. They were on the road to a PIAA Class 4A state championship.
By now, surely you’ve seen the one pretty timeless photo of Kobe striking a familar pose on the floor of Martz Hall.
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) April 13, 2016
To give you an indication of just how good PIAA basketball was back then, Kobe only won 1 state title in high school. They only made the state tournament in his junior and senior years and got bounced in the second round in 1995.
It was 1996. Kobe and the Aces just got finished obliterating Scranton High, 79-39, in the Class 4A second round. Next up was an “Elite 8” matchup with Stroudsburg High at Pottsville’s famed Martz Hall.
In addition to the team’s following, there was a huge buzz locally about this game. During the same year, the Pine Grove Cardinals girls’ basketball team won its second state title in school history.
Martz Hall attracts usually one big state playoff game a year and in 1996, it may have been the most anticipated game in the venue’s history.
Kobe’s Big Night at Martz Hall – 36 Points, 11 Rebounds
Kobe didn’t disappoint his fans and the locals there to witness what they’d heard about for a couple years.
Bryant scored 36 of his team’s 71 points and Lower Merion beat Stroudsburg by 17. You’ll see in the video below, at times it just wasn’t fair going against him. When we say running circles around defenders, we mean literal circles in some cases.
The PIAA had seen its share of great players over the years, but Kobe was just different.
Two wins later, including an OT thriller over Chester High in the semifinals, and Kobe’d win his first and only PIAA state championship.
Well, thanks to Todd Sadowski, the sports director at WPMT-TV (Fox 43), we can now see at least some of what Kobe did that night at Martz Hall. The video comes from a highlight package recorded by Blue Ridge Cable TV from the scene.
Any @kobebryant high school video is mesmerizing .. I worked at BRCTV13 in '97 and '98, heard stories about Kobe's game in '96 vs. Stroudsburg at @PAHSathletics Martz Hall .. 36 pts, 13 boards, the handle, vision, shotmaking all evident before going to @NBA thx BRCTV13 for vids! pic.twitter.com/45PR2oTmqr
— Todd Sadowski (@ToddFox43) January 28, 2020