As Jimmy Cain walked out of the Blue Springs South basketball locker room, he hugged his young son and quipped, “A few more gray hairs after that one.”
The coach, who sports a few more salt than pepper hairs on his head, saw his team gut out an “ugly” 49-43 Suburban Big Seven victory over visiting Raymore-Peculiar Tuesday night in a game that featured missed free throws, missed opportunities and the brilliant play of South point guard Camron Roustic, whose three old-fashioned 3-point plays were the difference for the Jaguars (6-5, 1-1).
“Camron has the ability to take over a game, and despite all the mistakes we made tonight, he did a great job driving to the basket and Dorian Wright hit those two big free throws at the end.”
With 21 seconds left in the game, Wright was fouled, hit two free throws and gave the Jaguars their final margin of victory.
While Roustic was driving the lane, making key steals and scoring a game-high 21 points, the Panthers (3-8, 0-2) were shooting themselves in the sneakers with missed free throws (14) and three turnovers in the final minute, 47 seconds of the game.
“It was ugly, that’s for sure,” Cain said, “but when you play Ray-Pec, and we’ve played them the past 14 years, you know it’s going to be a battle, just like tonight. I don’t think I did a very good job of getting our guys ready tonight. We had the big first period lead (13-5) and could have added to that in the second quarter and we didn’t do it. That’s on me,”
The Jaguars took a 26-13 lead into halftime, but Cain was disappointed in his team’s lack of rebounding and focus at times in the first half.
“They’re a tough team because they’re physical and make you work hard on both ends of the court,” said Roustic, who always seemed to come up with the big play when his team needed it the most. “I just try to go out and do what I need to do to help my team win. I’ll make a pass or get a rebound – it doesn’t have to be scoring. I just want to enjoy my senior season and we’re getting better as the season goes on.”
Added Cain: “Ray-Pec is big, physical and those kids play hard. Both teams made a lot of mistakes, but you have to give it to our guys – we found a way to win.”
“It wasn’t a pretty game,” the senior guard said, “but I’ll take an ugly win over an ugly loss any day.”
Wesley McCullough led the Panthers with 15 points, including seven in the fourth quarter.