Jimmy Cain will never forget the players whose unselfish play and attention to detail resulted in his first 20-win season as the head coach of the Blue Springs South boys basketball team.

Jimmy Cain will never forget the players whose unselfish play and attention to detail resulted in his first 20-win season as the head coach of the Blue Springs South boys basketball team.

“This season was memorable for so many reasons,” said Cain, who edged Lee’s Summit North’s Mike Hilbert for The Examiner’s 2010-11 Boys Coach of the Year. “But the No. 1 reason was our players. I don’t know if I’ve ever coached a more special group of guys.

“We had guys who made big sacrifices for us to win, and they did it without any complaints or negative comments. We had a lot of talent on this team, and we had a lot of role players – and everyone knew their role and really seemed to enjoy it.”

Cain said there were a number of instances he could point out where players sacrificed self for the team.

“For instance, when Drake Patterson was injured last season, Shawn Meyer scored a lot more points. This year, Drake came back and Shawn sacrificed the scoring for rebounding and playing against a much bigger inside opponent night in and night out.

“Darrion Geiger can shoot from anywhere, but he sacrificed scoring to get other guys involved in the offense. Those are the type of things I’m talking about. It’s been a while since our season ended, and I still miss these guys – I really do.

“And I know they miss each other. I’ll see them walking down the halls at school and they’ll always stop and talk with each other. I don’t think any of us will ever forget this season.”

One moment no Jaguar will forget is the night they claimed that 20th win.

It took a complete team effort for the underdog Jaguars to stop the highly favored Raytown South Cardinals 62-61 in district action at Truman High School.

“I don’t even know where to begin, other than by saying it was a total team effort,” South senior forward Shawn Meyer said after he dominated play in the paint in the fourth quarter – scoring six of his 12 points and holding Raytown sophomore sensation Ishmail Wainright to just two free throws. “And that all goes back to Coach Cain. He had us believing in ourselves. He made us believe we could win this game, and we did.”

Geiger felt much the same way.

“I love my teammates, and I love how hard we worked to win this game,” said Geiger, who hit a 3-point basket at 2:02 of the fourth quarter to give the Jaguars a 55-52 lead they never relinquished.

The Jaguars’ dream season ended with a 60-55 loss to Hilbert’s Broncos in the Class 5 District 14 championship game.

Following the game, Hilbert told Cain, “I’m so sorry. I know how tough this is for you and your kids. They played their hearts out. I’ve been on the other end of a game like this, and it’s tough.”

North center David Kravish, who goes to church with Cain and is going to attend the University of California, battled 6-3 Wesley Poke and 6-5 Meyer most of the game and wanted to send his opponents a message.

“We play teams that really like to talk – they’re real chirpy – but not South,” Kravish said. “No. 33 (Poke) and No. 40 (Meyer) played me so tough the entire game. They deserve a lot of credit, and I love playing against someone who really goes hard the whole game.”

After reading those comments, it’s easy to see why Cain claimed the coach of the year award.

His team finished with a 20-8 record, a 7-3 conference record – which was good for a share of the Suburban Big Six lead – and the respect of the players and coaches the Jaguars faced.

They also ended a 15-game losing streak against Rockhurst and managed to top the Hawklets twice.

“We had some big wins,” Cain said, “and I love to win. But the palyers are the reason this season was so special. I am humbled by this honor and will share it with every player and coach on our staff.”