Times Sports Editor
Northview High School senior Spring Raines has had the tools to be an accomplished basketball player from the beginning of her stint with the Knights.
Even as a junior high player, Raines was teaming with her sister, Stormi, and several of her current teammates to wreak havoc on opposing teams while at North Clay Middle School. So it wasn't a tremendous surprise when she had a direct effect at the varsity level even as a freshman.
Four years later, Raines has surpassed every other Northview girls' player in school history to reach the career-scoring summit.
On Jan. 17, Raines ripped off 14 first-quarter points to break Julie Whitted's career mark of 1,350 points.
"I think this just validates all of the hard work and effort that Spring has put into the game of basketball," coach LuAnne Anderson commented. "You can't become the all-time leading scorer without putting in a tremendous amount of time in the gym. This is a great honor for any player and a nod to all of the good teammates that helped her score the points."
The total has continued to mount as Northview heads into the final stages of the 2008-09 regular season. Raines currently has 1,405 points after the Knights used a complete team effort to down South Vermillion on Friday evening.
Raines' varsity career began on Nov. 8, 2005, as Northview faced perennial power Mooresville on the Pioneers' home court and while the Knights lost that season-opener, Raines immediately displayed glimpses of things to come.
She debuted with a 12-point effort with a pair of 3-pointers in a 64-32 defeat with Whitted on the court as well.
The season began slowly for Northview, which opened with a 1-4 mark, but the Knights began to come together as the year progressed. As Raines worked her way into the regular rotation, then coach, Bob Medworth, saw what his freshman could offer to the team.
"Spring is just a gifted basketball player. She can do things as a freshman that other kids work on for years. She started the season unsure of her role also. And we played her up and down between JV and Varsity and that contributed to that," Medworth told the Brazil Times following the season. "Once she demonstrated that she deserved to be a full time Varsity player, we went with that and then she really blossomed, just in time for sectionals," Medworth commented.
And Raines' contributions in that year's sectional were invaluable in a special run that had fans on the edge of their bleacher seats.
Northview drew Class 4A third-ranked Martinsville in the opener and hopes were meager after the Knights had dropped a 71-48 decision in mid-January to the Artesians. However, Martinsville got more than they bargained for in the re-match.
Whitted altered tons of shots as she'd done throughout her career, Lexee Hayes made a clutch 3-pointer to give the Knights a lead at halftime and Brittney Spugnardi and Jennifer Gregg's hustle continued to spark their teammates.
But Raines raised eyebrows with her fearless drives to the basket and rang up a 29-point effort on 10-of-22 shooting from the field.
That victory spurred the Knights to a Friday match-up with a 19-3 Mooresville squad as Northview won its 12th game out of 14.
The special ride continued in the semi-final as Northview took down the Pioneers, 48-39, as Raines added an 18-point, six-rebound effort.
In the sectional championship, the Knights came up just a tad short, 40-38, against Plainfield despite another 18-point night from Raines.
From there, the stage was set for Raines career, though the lofty sectional drive hasn't been duplicated in the rigorous Sectional 13.
Raines has continued to grow as a player over her career, averaging 14.7 ppg. as a freshman and earning WIC All-Conference honors and Third Team All-State. Her sophomore year she tallied 18.0 ppg. with a high-game of 34 points against Terre Haute North and averaged three steals, three rebounds and three assists per contest.
In her junior year, Northview struggled to a 7-13 season, but Raines averaged 17.1 ppg. and reached the 1,000-point plateau. Raines also raised her rebounding to 5.6 rpg. to lead the team in boards, steals and assists.
As a senior, Raines has continued to improve her game as Northview has built an 8-7 mark with Anderson.
Raines has tallied more than 22 ppg., but has also continued to pound the boards and find her teammates in good position to score, which Anderson was quick to point out.
I think Spring has made great strides in making herself a more compete player. She wants to go on and play at the next level, and she knew that she needed to work on some of the areas of her game to be able to do that," Anderson said. "She is leading our team in rebounding for the second straight year. She is also leading our team in assists this year. She realizes that our opponent's will be focusing on shutting her down and that her teammates are sometimes left wide open. She has done a great job of finding them.
"I also like her leadership in practice," Anderson continued. "She is a very vocal leader. I also like the fact that Spring always wants the ball when the game is on the line. This is a true attribute of a great player and competitor. Players like Spring don't come around every year."
The continued improvement of Raines' all-around game is what has drawn attention from numerous college programs. According to Anderson, DePauw University has shown interest as well as Purdue-Calumet, Taylor, Vincennes and Danville.
"I think Spring has many characteristics that college teams will be looking for," Anderson said. "She is a tough, hard-nosed competitor who does not shy away from pressure. She will do whatever it takes to win a game. She has a great court sense and knowledge of the game of basketball."