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ROHNERT PARK — Camille Spackman isn’t sure when it happened. She’d have to check.

Rancho Cotate’s all-timing leading scorer in girls’ basketball isn’t sure when she earned that title and while it’s cool and everything, she is almost blasé about it.

Spackman has scored 1,190 points in a Cougars uniform, passing former teammate Reilani Peleti’s record of 1, 113.

When asked what was a more important milestone in her career, the Cougars making the North Coast Section playoffs for only the second time in a quarter-century or taking the scoring title, there was zero hesitation.

“Playoffs. Definitely,” she said.

Spackman, a senior post player for the Cougars and a starter since her freshman year, passed Peleti’s mark in the Jan. 8 game against Ukiah. Big night? Nah, the Cougars lost 49-40. That’s what Spackman was worried about.

Spackman may be the most prolific individual scorer, but she’s all about team.

“Most of my scoring comes from layups,” she said. “The only reason I have that many points is my teammates helping me out.”

Well, not exactly but she scores points for modesty.

“This is her third year of being a captain,” Cougars coach Mario Newton said. “Her team looks up to her. She’s very encouraging. Camille is very emotional. She has a lot of passion for the game.”

That passion and that emotion was tested midseason when, in a road game against Casa Grande, Spackman was on the run and came down awkwardly on her knee — the same knee she had surgery on in the summer of 2015. To add insult to injury, the Cougars lost that game 76-57.

A series of tests revealed she hyper-extended it. Newton said he didn’t know who was more scared, Spackman or him.

“It was pretty scary for her but I thought we lost her the season,” he said.

Spackman was out for the next five games. In that stretch, the Cougars played valiantly, winning contests against Maria Carrillo and Windsor, but dropping runaway games to Cardinal Newman, Montgomery and a 48-37 contest with Ukiah Jan. 31.

It was the Ukiah game that probably stung a little more than the others. Spackman was cleared to play by doctors the morning of the game but Newton felt uneasy just dropping his star player in to the mix after two weeks of nothing but rehab and free throw shooting.

So committed to returning to the Cougars’ lineup was Spackman that there was some debate over who had to draw the short straw and tell her that she was going to sit out one more game.

But Newton needn’t have worried. Spackman got it. And she rolled with it.

“She hates not playing,” he said. “It’s very encouraging to see that she has grown. At a young age, she would have been sad and withdrawn on the bench.”

But against Ukiah, Spackman was her team’s biggest cheerleader, he said.

“It was encouraging words,” he said. “She was screaming encouragement, helping them out, telling them where they needed to be.”

Spackman has evolved as a player and a leader. She’s had to.

In her first three years at Rancho, she had Peleti to keep defenders distracted. Getting her points this year has been a different battle.

“It makes a huge difference,” Newton said. “Camille, especially in the beginning of the season, she wasn’t getting the points she was used to getting.”

“Every time she touches the ball, you hear the coach on the other sideline yelling ‘Double! Double! Help! Help! Help!’” he said.

There is only so much they can do. Spackman is averaging a team-leading 12.5 points per game, to go along with 4.4 rebounds, two steals, and a block.

“She’s only a 5-10 post player but she’s quick so big girls can’t guard her on the outside,” Newton said. “She is one of the best post players in the league with her back to the basket.”

Spackman will lead the Cougars on Tuesday in a tough assignment: Rancho plays No. 1 seed Cardinal Newman in the first round of the North Bay League tournament.

But Spackman is just glad to be there. And from there it’s on to the North Coast Section Div. 2 tournament after the Cougars will earn a bid for the second time in as many years after a drought of more than a quarter-century.

Last season the Cougars were bounced in the first round by the No. 3 seed. Spackman wants more.

“The teams that are above us are beatable teams,” she said. “I want to make it farther than we got last year.”

You can reach staff columnist Kerry Benefield at 526-8671 or kerry.benefield@pressdemocrat.com, on Twitter @benefield and on Instagram at kerry.benefield. Podcasting on iTunes and SoundCloud “Overtime with Kerry Benefield.”

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