Tuesday, March 13th, 2007
Raterman family has another player in Columbus
Versailles star Justine becomes third sister to play in state final four
By Gary R. Rasberry
VERSAILLES - Fifteen years ago, Jacki Raterman was a young freshman taking the court at St. John Arena in the first state final four trip for the Versailles girls basketball team.
Younger sister Julie Raterman was watching with interest as her older sister played.
Justine Raterman, two years old at the time, was also in attendance.
Julie got her chance to make it to St. John Arena when the Tigers went back to state in 1998. Justine was a little older and got to enjoy the game a little more. Jacki at the time was wrapping up a stellar junior season at Bowling Green State University.
Fast forward to this week, where the Tigers are making their third trip to state.
Justine, a junior, is the leading scorer for the Tigers.
Julie, who had a solid four-year career at West Liberty State College in West Virginia, will definitely be there with the rest of the Ratermans.
Jacki, now Jacki Stonebraker, will also be there. As the head coach of the Tigers.
"That's pretty amazing how things work out like that," said Jacki on Monday as her team got ready to practice. "I never would have guessed in a million years that this would happen.
"Just watching them play at this level was fun," said Justine before a practice on Monday. "I remember the little things from going up there and watching them compete. I always wanted to be a part of that success."
Jacki, 13th all-time in scoring at Bowling Green with 1,213 points, came back home to teach and be an assistant at Versailles. Four years ago, she took over the head coaching spot.
"I took it over to get my feet wet and see if I could do it," said Jacki. "I wanted a huge challenge to see if I could coach the game and not just play the game. Justine happened to be an eighth-grader at the time and was coming up (the next year) as a freshman. It was nice because I knew she was a good ball player herself."
Julie remembers fondly seeing Jacki (Continued from page 1B)
play at state and can't wait to see Justine play.
"It's a neat experience to go to state," said Julie in a telephone interview. "I saw my older sister go through it. It was something I wanted to go through. Watching Justine go through it, it's like I want to tell her to soak it up and enjoy.
"I'm sure it will bring back a lot of memories going back (to Columbus) this weekend and actually see my little sister play. ... To go and cheer her on will be an awesome experience."
Justine got used to the fact that big sister needed to be called "coach".
"My first year it was a little bit strange with her being my sister and my coach," said Justine. "After a couple of years, you get used to it. Nothing changed. We're close on and off the court. The respect has grown through the years.
"We keep what's on the floor (on the floor). We don't bring it to the (dinner) table."
"She's so coachable. That's the thing I like about her," said Jacki. "She'll take something I say and analyze and work with it. She's probably going to be a coach someday because she analyzes things so well."
Having sisters to go one-on-one with certainly doesn't hurt in getting in shape for basketball.
"We play every once in awhile, but not a lot," said Jacki of Justine. "Julie and I played more one-on-one because of the age gap. Now, I'm getting too old to play the game, so she smokes me."
"There was a little more competitiveness between me and Jacki because I was always living in her shadow and trying to do what she did," said Julie. "Not so much one-on-one, but I was trying to out-do her. Justine has that pressure to (try) and one-up me and Jacki."
Julie was a little more clear on how the hoop battles with Justine usually go.
"I don't know if I want to play against her," said Julie. "She'll probably kick my butt."
Justine was a little more democratic when describing the on-court encounters with her sisters.
"We play a little differently," said Justine. "We have different attributes that are our strengths."
One thing that Justine could do to get some bragging rights on her older sisters is win. Both Jacki and Julie lost in the semifinals during their trip to state.
"I don't know if it hit me right at first (after the win over Hamilton Badin put the Tigers in the final four), but I think after that win, we have to work harder right now, just not to be satisfied with getting there," said Justine.
Both older sisters are hoping that Justine, who is getting looks from a number of Division I universities to play college ball, can break the streak and win in Columbus.
"I hope she can take it one step further than me and Julie were able," said Jacki. "Just to win that first game would be a big step for her and the program. I think the girls can do it."
"Jacki and I came up short, losing in the semifinals," said Julie. "They (the current Tigers) don't need to settle with going to state. They need to go further and go beyond the things Jacki and I achieved."