Candid Interview With Rachel Steinhoff About Four Year Basketball Career At New Haven

By Kyle Quick

NEW HAVEN, Mo. - It was November 29, 2010 in the first round of the Montgomery County Tournament when Rachel Steinhoff as a freshman started her first game for New Haven, scoring her first 16 career points.

Four years later Rachel Steinhoff leaves behind life long memories and performances fans will always remember.

Steinhoff’s ends her illustrious her career by setting a school record, starting all 122 games, helping her team become just the third basketball team in school history and first girls team to advance to the final four three or more years in a row.  (Boys note these teams were in class 1 - 1956, 57’, 58’, 59’, 1997, 98’, 99’)  Steinhoff’s team also becomes the first ever to advance since New Haven went from being a Class 1 to Class 2 school.

Steinhoff becomes the second all-time leading scorer in girls basketball with 1661 career points but even more impressive is the 30 that she scored on her ACT.

Wednesday Steinhoff was named Academic All-State; just the third girl ever for basketball to receive the prestigious award.  (Criteria: senior, start 90% of games or play in at least 75% of games, have an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher, and score at least a 27 on their ACT.)

Last week Steinhoff was named to the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association’s (MBCA) Class 2 Girls All-State Team for the third straight year and third player in school history, joining Kristina Bailey (2002) and Kathleen Scheer (2006, 07’, 08’).  Steinhoff was All-Conference each of her four years, voted Honorable Mention her Freshman year and 1st Team the following three years.

Pictured with Rachel after finishing second in Class 2 in 2012 is her mom Ruth, brother Ryan, and dad Ray.

In my interview with Rachel she said her parents, Ruth and Ray, had the greatest impact on her success in both athletics and academically.

Steinhoff said, “They have done a lot for me in both areas (sports and academics).  Constantly helping me, putting me in position to succeed.  With basketball my dad obviously had a big impact on that, but even helping in choosing which college to go attend.  They spent a lot of time researching each school’s basketball programs and which schools had good eduction programs.  But in the end they let me make my own chose and let me be happy and determine what my future is going to be.”

Steinhoff said the biggest reason for choosing Truman State was because they have a really good basketball program and offer a great education as well, “which for me was just as important as athletics.”

During Steinhoff’s four years at New Haven, she played a vital role in helping to establish a similar “Tradition of Excellence” within the girls basketball program to that of the boys, setting an example that through handwork and dedication anything is possible.

One random fact about Rachel was she said, “In my four years ate a hot dog before almost every game.”

Steinhoff shared with me her most memorable moments from each season beginning with her freshman year saying, “My first game; because we were seeded eighth in the Montgomery County Tournament and had to face Mexico, who I believe was ranked number one in Class 4 in preseason polls and we nearly pulled off the upset, losing to them by six (66-60).  That game changed our confidence for the whole year.”

Rachel Steinhoff and Kierstin Monzyk mob Stephanie Gerling after she hits game winning free throw in 2012.

In the following season there is one game that arguable was a defining moment in the girls basketball program in what would be the beginning of a Cinderella story.

Steinhoff’s memorable moment her sophomore year was without a doubt the Class 2 State Sectionals where the Shamrocks shocked the state, upsetting second ranked Meadow Heights 49-48.

Steinhoff said, “Sophomore year, this might be my best memory because people did not give us a chance to beat Meadow Heights and went in there and took it from and that was awesome.  That game began everything and gave us the confidence that we could compete and go somewhere.”

Pictured right Emily Kallmeyer.

Steinhoff said, “Junior year was the quarterfinal game against Neelyville because it looked like we weren’t going to comeback, we were on pins and needles.”

But Steinhoff’s memorable moment was not the two game winning free-throws she hit with the score tied at 56 with 5.1 seconds left in overtime.  “I couldn’t do a lot of scoring that game because they had a really good defensive plain.”

Steinhoff said her best memory was how “Girls on our team completely stepped up.  Kierstin Monzyk opening the second half, scoring eight unanswered points to give us a two point lead, 30-28.  Emily Kallmeyer and Kayla Meyer both hit big shots, so their plain kind of back fired on them.” (Kallmeyer ended the game with a career high 16 points, scoring eight of her teams 10 fourth quarter points.)

Steinhoff’s said, “Senior, just everything about it is memorable because it is your last everything.”

I asked Steinhoff what she will miss the most about playing basketball at New Haven.

She said, “I’ll miss playing with the other senior girls because we’ve played together since fourth grade and it was in fourth grade that we told everyone we are going to win a State Championship.  We had such a strong desire to win and you could tell because we would get mad at each other sometimes like we would yell at each other sometimes out on the court and that was just because we wanted to win so bad and I’ll miss that we were all on the same page with the same goals.”

One thing Steinhoff will be rememberd for is her ability to get to the basket.

Next year Rachel will continue her basketball career at Truman State University and already has a few personal goals she hopes to accomplish.

“I want to work my way into some playing time.  As a freshman a lot players either red shirt or just don’t get a lot of playing time and I would like to prove I am good enough to be out there”, said Steinhoff.

Steinhoff is still unsure what she plains on majoring in however has a few ideas in mind.

“Education has obviously been a big part of my life with both my parents being teachers, but if I did that it would probably be lower level”, Steinhoff said.  “I also love to write so maybe mixing the two and teach sports journalism.  I would love to coach girls basketball too.”

One statistic, which reflects how well Steinhoff handled the ball, playing point guard all four years, Steinhoff’s career turnover average per game was 2.4 and this season it was just 1.9

We both laughed when she said, “I’ve seen some pretty good coaching (Referring to her dad Ray Steinhoff) and think I could pass that on to other teams and seeing other people succeed would be just as rewarding for me, because I know I’d have a tough time letting the game go.”

I ended my interview with Rachel by asking several random “fun” questions.

Q. Favorite color?

A. Purple

Q. Favorite Number: 32

A. When Rachel was a freshman she wore number 24.  Her sophomore year 24 was taken so she took 32, which is not generally a number you see a point guard wearing.  Steinhoff said, “Ryan (brother) thought that was really cool and told me to keep, so I did.”

Q. Favorite movie?

A. Hoosiers

Q. Favorite food

A. Shrimp

Q. Like to do in free time

A. I love to ice skate and watch college basketball, especially now with it being March Madness.

Q  Are you superstitious

A. My lucky number is seven because I was born on July 7th (07/07).  During basketball season my alarm clock is set for 7:17… 7:27.

Steinhoff’s career stats are among the best to have played at New Haven, as mentioned earlier she is second in career points with 1,661, second with most free-throws made 424, first all-time in attempted free-throws 570, third in free-throw percentage 74%, third in steals 199, first in most games played 122, second in field goals attempted 1,289, third in 2pt field goals made 488, and second in 3pt field goals made 87.

Steinhoff also set numerous single season records: second in free-throws made 150 (2013-14), first all-time in free-throws attempted 198 (2013-14), third in free-throw percentage 78% (2012-13), and first all-time in 2pt field goals attempted 355 (2013-14).

I would like to thank Rachel for giving me this interview and wish her the best luck playing at the college level.  Who knows, maybe we will be covering Truman State playing for a National Championship some day.

Here are some great moments in New Haven Girls Basketball over the past three years, which includes interview with Coach Dave Luecke after the Meadow Height's game along with Steinhoff's game winning free-throws in 2013 and the dramatic ending to that year's State Quarterfinals.