By Gary R. Rasberry
That’s the word to describe Krissy Haines.
The St. Marys senior never dipped below the 20-point per game average during the season and finished the season in the top 10 in four statistical departments in the Grand Lake Leaderboard.
For that, and for helping the Roughriders to the Western Buckeye League title, Haines has been named The Dream Team’s Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
The 5-9 Haines becomes the first Auglaize County winner since New Bremen’s Jill Buschur was given the honor in 2000 and the third since the award was expanded from the Mercer County Player of the Year back in 1998 when Lauren Shenk of Minster won the honor.
This honor is just one of the many Haines has been heaped with as the season progressed. In addition the Western Buckeye League Player of the Year, Haines was also named the Division II state Player of the Year by the Associated Press and was selected to play in the North-South game, which is Sunday at Capital University in Columbus. Haines will play for the Division I-II North Team.
Haines slept through the announcement of being named state Player of the Year, not that her parents didn’t try and wake her.
“It was like 11 at night and I was already in bed. My parents had to get me up,” said Haines with a laugh. “I was all mad because they woke me up. Then the commercials were long and I said ‘I’m not doing this’ and went back to bed. The next morning they were telling me congratulations. I was like ‘what?’ They told me I was first team All-Ohio, and I was happy, then they said I was tri-Player of the Year. I was all smiles the entire day. It’s such an honor.” Haines was second in the area last season in scoring at 17.3 ppg. and entered the 2004 campaign with some major goals in mind.
“Honestly, my goal was go be a good senior leader, not only on the court but on the sidelines,” said Haines. “That was the biggest because all the seniors had leadership. Everything came together during the season.”
Haines won the Grand Lake scoring title in averaging 22.2 ppg. and was third in rebounding (7.5 rpg.), field goal percentage (53.1 percent) and eighth in steals (2.30 spg.).
“It begins with practice,” said Haines. “You play like you practice. I felt like I had to work as hard to make the team better. That’s what it helped me be better. My teammates made me better and I worked to help them be better. It’s a great honor, but I couldn’t have done these things without my teammates. They have helped me so much.”
Haines’ scrappy play and ability to take over games helped the Roughriders to a 19-1 regular season, the lone loss coming in double-overtime at Ottawa-Glandorf.
Going into the last couple weeks of the season, things looked dim as far as getting another chance at the league title until O-G lost, then Bath lost, setting up a winner-take all game with Bath at McBroom Gymnasium. Haines scored 20 in the win as the Roughriders won a share of the title in the 59-50 win.
“It was exciting the entire week,” said Haines. “Bath had been one of our big rivals the past couple of years. It was exciting not only for the team but for the town of St. Marys knowing we were having a rematch with Bath after what happened a couple of years ago. Everyone wanted to see us beat Bath.”
St. Marys coach Bruce Brown has nothing but praise for his star player.
“She brings everything to the game. She’s a tremendous athlete,” said Brown. “She’s a very competitive girl, plays extremely hard all of the time. She’s a very good leader who encourages her teammates all of the time. She plays team basketball. Winning is the number-one priority for her. Her teammates have followed her lead.”
Brown believes that Haines’ play was molded by the likes of two other Roughrider greats — Nan Kogge, who later played at Indiana Univeristy-South Bend and Liz Krugh, who had a successful career at Capital.
“She had some role models ahead of her that she set her sites on being as good as,” said Brown. “When Krissy was younger, she wanted to be like Nan. When she later played with Liz, who was one of the best leaders I ever coached, Krissy saw that and wanted to a team player and leader like Liz. Some of the players she saw ahead of her — the competitiveness of Nan and the leadership of Liz — helped Krissy develop into a total player and not just a great player, but a great team player.”
Haines also sees Kogge and Krugh as influences and adds former teammates Sarah Wheeler and Angie Haines, Krissy’s older sister to the list.
“Watching Nan — my sister played with her and I went to every game — I could tell Nan always wanted to win,” said Haines. “She hated losing and I thought that was the attitude I needed to have to play varsity basketball. Watching Liz wanted me to want to play with her. Liz helped out a lot. She was nice. She was a positive role model.
Wheeler will get to see Haines next season as Haines said she intends to play both volleyball and basketball at Ohio Dominican, where Wheeler was one of the best three-point shooters in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics this past season.
“I didn’t know Wheels was up there until their coach talked to me. Wheels always had a positive attitude,” said Haines.
Haines is ready to wrap up her basketball season this weekend at the North-South All-Star game.
“Coach told me that I was in the game and I thought it was just another game,” said Haines. “Then he explained it to me (how the team was selected) I was excited. The best 20 (players) in the state. I didn’t consider myself one of the best 20 in the state, but it’s awesome. I cannot wait until Sunday. The other two girls who were players of the year with me are on the South team. Then Ms. Basketball is on the other team.”