Area Female Athlete: PR-B's Rainwater racking up rebounds

Confidence is what Gabby Rainwater lacked. It wasn't desire or work ethic. She knew what she needed to do. She just lacked confidence. She's got it now and the Pine River-Backus sophomore is using it. The second-year starter for the Tigers' girls...

Gabby Rainwater
Gabby Rainwater

Confidence is what Gabby Rainwater lacked.

It wasn't desire or work ethic. She knew what she needed to do. She just lacked confidence.

She's got it now and the Pine River-Backus sophomore is using it.

The second-year starter for the Tigers' girls basketball team is pulling down rebounds at a 9.2 per-game average. She's playing tough defense and diving for loose balls. All of it thanks to a summer of playing with and against top talent, which translated into confidence.

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Gabby Rainwater

  • Year: Sophomore
  • School: Pine River-Backus
  • Sport: Basketball
  • Position: Forward
  • Highlights: Tallied 37 points and 34 rebounds in three wins last week

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"I think the thing that really helped her this past year, was she played AAU," PR-B head girls coach Randy Schwegel said. "From last year to this season, she has just improved a ton. This past year it was so evident that she played AAU. The improvement has just been amazing; the difference from one year to the next. I'm going to give a lot of that credit to the time she spent in the gym last spring and over the summer.."

Rainwater agreed with Schwegel's assessment. She admitted she didn't think she would even be good enough to play for her AAU team-the Brainerd Lakes Thunder. But she did. What she learned the most-have confidence.

"I was very nervous," said Rainwater. "I was petrified at my first practice. I didn't know if I was going to be good enough. I'm not an offensive player so I wasn't sure I was going to meet the coaches' requirements."

And now.

"Before, I would never shoot," Rainwater said. "I was easily intimidated by other players. More experiences and playing with more people led me to be more confident. I was ready for what was coming this year. Last year, I didn't know what I was doing. I just kind of winged it. This year, it's more from experience so it's easier to get better."

As Rainwater has gotten better, so have the Tigers. PR-B has won nine straight since a tournament loss to Pillager Dec. 20.


Rainwater collected 12 points and 12 rebounds in PR-B's 69-35 victory over Kelliher/Northome Jan. 20. In a 76-35 win over Cass Lake-Bena, Rainwater grabbed 12 rebounds to go with eight points.

"Her role on the team is to rebound," Schwegel said. "We put a chart together where we put people's names on the board if they get 10 rebounds in a game. She's up there seven or eight times. She leads the way.

"She just works hard. She just doesn't stop. She's not that big and she's going against bigger kids, but she just goes. Her job is to rebound and she's doing it and been doing a great job of it for us."

When Rainwater does score, it's efficient. She hit 7-of-8 shots to finish with 17 points and 10 rebounds in the Tigers' 70-62 victory over Clearbrook-Gonvick Jan. 13.

In the Tigers' 69-40 victory over Blackduck Jan. 24, Rainwater scored 15 points.

Rainwater said she could still use more confidence with her offense.

"More of my points come off of offensive rebounds, I would say," Rainwater said. "I need a bit more confidence with that. I definitely need to work on that. When I get better at shooting, I'll look to do that more."

Rainwater has scored 146 points for a 9.1 points-per-game average. She's added 25 steals. But it's all about rebounding for Rainwater and that's what she enjoys doing. She's collected 147 of those despite only being 5-foot-8 and playing against taller opponents.


"If there is a loose ball, I will do what I can do to get it," Rainwater said. "It's more thrilling getting the ball from someone. Instead of making a shot, I would rather have a rebound. It was something that came easy for me, rather than shooting the ball. That's not my mentality. I don't look to shoot, but I do look to get a rebound and then have a putback."

Schwegel and the Tigers can thank former Tiger Megan Porta for Rainwater's aggressive, selfless style of play. Rainwater said she loved watching Porta grab rebounds and put them back up for points. She said she thought that "was the coolest thing."

"There isn't another team in the area that wouldn't want Gabby on their team," Schwegel said.


Other notable performances:

Basketball: Gabby Martin, Pillager, scored 28 points against Menahga and 26 against Pierz.

Kelsi Stuckmayer, Pierz, scored 20 points against Holdingford.

Grace Imdieke, Lake Region, finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds against Woodcrest.


Olivia Lane, Pequot Lakes, finished with 28 points and 14 rebounds against Aitkin and 18 points against Esko.

Shyanne Loiland, Crosby-Ironton, finished with 14 points, 17 rebounds, eight assists, seven steals and five blocked shots against Park Rapids.

Alyssa Semmler, Pine River-Backus, scored 21 points against Cass Lake-Bena, 19 against Crosby-Ironton and 18 against Kelliher/Northome.

Hockey: Shelby Otte, Prairie Centre, finished with four goals against Morris-Benson.

Nordic skiing: Kendal Hendrickson, Little Falls, won the Little Falls Pursuit Invite.

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