Point guard Pete Ragusa leading powerful Bobcats with smooth efficiency

Published 12:28 am Wednesday, November 30, 2022

ORANGEFIELD – After being such a spark plug in helping guide the Orangefield offense for long-time Bobcats head basketball coach Jake McDonald, senior Pete Ragusa looks to wrap up his last year donning the Orange & White with a memorable one.

Ragusa has been known as a sharp-shooter with his three-point scoring prowess ever since he was a sophomore.

Don’t let that fool you, he is one of the best slashing drivers in Southeast Texas as far as getting into the paint and finishing.

“I’ve really worked hard to improve my overall game,” said Ragusa. “I always love hitting that step-back three-pointer, ever since I was little. I knew I wanted to improve my drive game and started working harder in the weight room. I’ve gotten much stronger, and that has really allowed me to finish more at the basket and getting three-point play opportunities there, too.”

Ragusa is averaging nearly 25 points a game as the Bobcats (4-0) have gotten off to a fast start. He’s also averaging more than five assists and close to five rebounds a game from his guard spot.

“The most exciting thing here is when we win games and Coach McDonald congratulates us in the locker room after the games, that’s what I strive for each time out,” said Ragusa. “I knew I had to improve my overall game and get everyone involved more. We have two excellent senior post players we can get the ball inside too, like Koen Maddox and Morgan Sampson, and two really good shooters from the outside in Zane Wrinkle and Jaden Scales. The more I can get them good shots, the more it opens things up for me.”

McDonald is proud to see how much Ragusa has improved. He brought him up on varsity for a brief stint as a freshmen but he has started ever since he was a sophomore.

“Pete is such a pleasure to coach and he just eats up the game of basketball,” said McDonald. “He is like an extension of the coaching staff when he’s on the floor. He kind of sets the table for everything we want to do.”

Ragusa earned Newcomer of the Year honors on the 2021 All-Orange Leader Team as a sophomore.

Ragusa  has loved the game since he was 5 years old.

“I fell in love with the game when I was in Little Dribblers and wasn’t much bigger than the ball,” said Ragusa. “I worked hard in the offseason and gained a lot of added muscle.I spent so much time lifting and shooting in the gym.”

Now it’s all about helping push the Bobcats into the playoffs. After a strong showing last year in which they earned second-place in District 22-4A, the Bobcats are ready to battle for a district title in the Class 3A ranks.

“We learned a lot playing against bigger schools the last couple seasons, but teams in our 3A district are tough, too,” said Ragusa. “We were always wanting to knock off the bigger schools the last couple years, now teams in our district are wanting to do the same thing with us. East Chambers, everyone knows their tradition. Buna, Kountze, they are always really good. With the experience we have, we’re definitely going to be in the mix and we really think we can win a district title if we play at our best.”

Ragusa likes the trust Coach McDonald has in him.

“I’ve never been afraid to put a three-point shot up from deep, sometimes even close to the volleyball lines,” joked Ragusa. “I remember when Coach McDonald would shrug his head at me a couple years ago. He may not still want me to jack it up from near the volleyball line, but he has trust in me and gives me the green light in shooting them from deep.”

Ragusa enjoys how McDonald lets the Bobcats flow in what they do.

“Coach McDonald, especially with the experience we have this year, let’s us do what we know how to do,” said Ragusa. “He lets us call plays a lot and it keeps us in the flow of the game. He’s definitely a players’ coach for sure.”

One thing for certain, McDonald can always count on his senior point guard to do the very best that he can to help the Bobcats cash in on plenty of victories.

“Pete has really turned himself into one of the best if not the best point guards in Southeast Texas,” said McDonald. “Many times, it would be just me and him left at the gym. Many times I would go to and just let him stick around and shoot. His love for the game is like no other.”

Ragusa is ready for a season to remember.

“It just seems like yesterday I was a scrawny freshmen that hit a growth spurt between my sophomore and junior years,” said Ragusa. “Now, just like that, I’m a senior. It has really went by fast, and hopefully we’ll have a lot of great memories to hold onto after this season is over.”