Prep Basketball: Asmus, Raines to be first DCA college athletes
Kristen Asmus, left, and Katherine Raines will become the first two Danville Christian Academy athletes to play college basketball. (Mike Marsee / February 11, 2013)
The moment belongs to two girls who have cemented their plans to play basketball at the next level, but they’re more than happy to share it with their entire school.
Kristen Asmus and Katherine Raines, who play basketball for Danville Christian Academy, are the first two athletes from their school to commit to play collegiate athletics. Asmus plans to play basketball for Centre College, Raines for Kentucky Christian University.
The two girls said it’s a milestone not only for themselves but for their small school, which they said is sometimes considered athletically inferior to the area’s much larger public schools.
“It’s always been a goal because everyone’s like, ‘Oh, small school, you don’t have the same sports possibilities and opportunities as other schools,’ and I wanted to prove that just because we’re small doesn’t mean that,” Asmus said. “Just the fact that we can kind of lead in that way and leave something for the school here that can be remembered in the future is really special.”
Raines said it means more to her to come out of a small school — DCA has only about 35 high school students — because she thought for a time she would need to switch to another school to have the kind of opportunity she has gotten.
“Everyone in the past has left DCA to have a better opportunity of playing college sports, and I actually transfered (to Boyle County) at the beginning of last year so that I would have a better opportunity to get a scholarship somewhere, and then I got there and I realized, ‘You know, I’m probably not going to play very much,’ and I decided to come back,” Raines said.
“It means a lot because it proves that I didn’t have to go to a 4A school to get to play college basketball. I think that really says a lot for our younger players who want to have the ability and the chance to play college basketball, to see that, ‘Oh, they could do it, so there’s nothing stopping me.’”
Raines, a 6-foot forward, plans make her commitment official during a Feb. 20 ceremony. Asmus, a 5-7 guard, will be on a mission trip at that time, so she’ll make her commitment official at a later date.
Both average about 10 points per game for the Warriors. Raines also averages nine rebounds and two blocked shots per game, while Asmus averages three rebounds and three assists. Raines shoots 49 percent from the field despite drawing double- and triple-teams from virtually every opponent.
“She never complains, even when the opponent tries to play extremely physical with her. It is impressive that she has posted the stats she has due to most opponents' main objective being to stop her or not let her beat them,” DCA coach Jamie Middleton said.
Middleton said both players’ numbers would probably be better if the team could play at a faster pace, but the Warriors’ slower game has paid off against more athletic opponents and helped them set a school record for wins.
Both girls said, however, that they know they’ll need to improve their speed to be successful in college.
Raines said she had been hoping and praying to find a place to play that was close to home, but the schools that spent the most time recruiting her were Heidelberg (in Tiffin, Ohio) and Earlham (in Richmond, Ind.).
“I really wanted to stay in state just so that my family would be able to come and see me play,” she said.
She visited Heidelberg and Earlham last fall, but she was still holding out hope for something in Kentucky, and opportunity knocked during Christmas break when she got a text from Kentucky Christian coach Ron Arnett.
“I think it was the day after Christmas, me and my mom were getting ready to go shopping, and I had (an email) from coach Arnett at KCU, and he was like, ‘We’re interested. When can you come and practice with the team?’” Raines said.
She did so on New Year’s Eve, and she said her visit to Grayson was a good one.
“It was great. Their players reminded me a lot of the girls that I’m playing with now as far as personalty,” Raines said. “It was a God thing, because I’d been praying for an in-state school to take interest so that I wouldn’t have to be six hours away as a freshman in college.”
Asmus’ father is on the faculty at Centre, but she started looking at colleges farther from home, including Berry.
“He has always loved (Centre), and I’ve always said I wanted to go somewhere far away, but the more I looked into other schools the more I realized Centre is a perfect fit for me,” she said. “It’s great academically, it’s a great community, and it’s just a place that I can see myself being for the next four years.”
Both girls are going to successful programs. Kentucky Christian has won six consecutive NCCAA Division II national championships, and Centre reached the third round of the NCAA Division III tournament last year.
“I never thought i was good enough, and then I realized that I was comparing myself to other players that I couldn’t be compared to,” Asmus said.
Asmus plans to study psychology and said she may eventually pursue a master’s degree in counseling and also wants to travel for missions work. Raines plans to major in biology, which she said will leave the door open for a variety of career possibilities from athletic training or physical therapy to medicine.
On the basketball court, they said they and their team have come a long way during their years at DCA.
“We’ve grown a lot, in more than just basketball. We’ve grown as a team ... and the fact that we can be pioneers is just a really big honor,” Raines said.
“You couldn’t ask for two better kids to represent your school,” Middleton said. “They’re really good basketball players, but they’re also smart people, and they’re some of the best kids that you’ll ever meet, and I think that’s what really turned on the college coaches to them.”