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Making it Rainey: Union Senior Guard Pouring in the Points, Leading Youthful Golden Knights

Thursday, January 13, 2022 @ 12:01 AM

Posted by Mike Kilroy

IMG_1144RIMERSBURG, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Caden Rainey drives to the hoop and shovels a pass to Payton Johnston, who lays it into the basket.

Two points.

On the next trip down, Rainey drives the lane again, this time putting up a running shot that kisses off the glass and through the net.

Two more points.

On the other end, Rainey swats the ball away to begin another fast break.

Yes, another two points.

Then, there are the intangibles. The high energy. The smiles and smirks.

The way Rainey, a senior point guard for the Union boys basketball team, has been able to rally his young teammates.

Rainey impacts the game in every way imaginable for the Golden Knights.

“We go as he goes,” said Union coach Eric Mortimer. “When he’s on, we’re on.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and D9Sports.com is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

Rainey has been on a lot so far this season for Union, which is 6-3 despite having a starting lineup that often features three juniors and a sophomore around Rainey.

He scored 20 on Tuesday night in a 50-40 win over Moniteau. He’s scored 12 or more points in every game except on a three-point night against the stout defense of Karns City.

Rainey is averaging 16.2 points per game this season.

“He has a lot of energy, and he’s even that way in practice,” Mortimer said. “He keeps on going. He knows they’re young and he keeps on them, and he keeps them going.”

Rainey is doing it while still wearing a large brace on his left leg. He injured his knee in the summer and wore the brace throughout the football season.

It doesn’t seem to hinder him on the court.

“You can’t control him. You can only hope to contain him,” said A-C Valley boys basketball coach Anthony McGarvey, who tried everything he could — including using Lane Bauer to follow Rainey all over the court in their meeting last week — to no avail; Rainey scored 19 in the win.

“He’s a special player.”

Rainey said he came into this season knowing he was going to have to shoulder more of the burden given the youthful nature of the roster.

“We lost a few key pieces from last year,” Rainey said. “I knew I needed to step up and take the pressure off these younger guys. I needed to score more so they could do whatever they needed to do.”

The formula has worked.

Not only is Rainey scoring more, but he’s also getting more people involved because he sees the floor so well.

“It’s just from experience,” Rainey said. “You have to keep your head up and see where your guys are on the floor.”

Teams are taking notice.

A-C Valley’s approach with Bauer face guarding Rainey may have been an extreme example, but Rainey is seeing defenses get more creative to try to stop him.

“I mean, I’ve been face guarded before,” Rainey said after the win at A-C Valley, “but that was a little different.”

Rainey doesn’t mind, though.

“Hey, if teams want to do that, they are basically saying our four is better than your four,” Rainey said. “I don’t think that’s true.”

Rainey has been playing basketball almost since he could walk. His older brother, Cole Morris, was a big influence during his formative years in the sport.

Morris is now an assistant basketball coach at nationally ranked DME Sports Academy in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Morris was a standout himself during his playing days at Union and then at Penn State DuBois.

“He’s the reason I’m where I’m at,” Rainey said. “If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now.”

What Rainey is doing is helping a young team stay in the hunt in a wide-open KSAC North field in District 9.

Rainey likes how the Golden Knights are playing right now. They lost a close game to Clarion by three despite 26 points from Rainey. Their other two losses have come against Karns City and Brookville — two teams that are a combined 16-1.

“We’re very excited,” Rainey said. “We lost a few close ones, but we preach and preach to our guys that we can be No. 1 in the north.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and D9Sports.com is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.


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