Pete Ragusa closes out senior season in style for Orangefield

Published 12:28 am Saturday, March 11, 2023

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ORANGEFIELD — With his understanding of the court and scoring abilities, Pete Ragusa proved to be an formidable presence as the senior starting point guard for the Orangefield Bobcats.

Under his guidance, the team achieved an 11-3 district record, second place district showing and made it to the third round of the Texas State 3-A playoffs.

To culminate his single season performance, Ragusa was named the District Offensive MVP.

As Head Coach Jake McDonald sat back in his chair recently, he couldn’t help but smile as he offered praise to the young athlete.

“You’d be hard pressed to find another high school kid with his knowledge and IQ of the game,” McDonald said. “As far as leadership goes, I think he’s really good at explaining things to some guys that maybe don’t have as high of a basketball IQ, why we need to do certain things, or how we need to do certain things.”

He also commended Ragusa’s likability among his peers and stated all the players on the team have a positive attitude towards him.

Pete Ragusa is known among coaches and teammates for his work ethic and willingness to share his knowledge with younger players. (Clayton Eaves/Special to The Leader)

McDonald’s admiration for Ragusa’s skills is not unfounded, as one of his most memorable games this season proved.

The contest was against the Kountze Lions, and Ragusa’s performance was nothing short of spectacular. He scored an impressive 40 points, collected five rebounds and dished out 6 assists.

“I don’t know what I ate that day” Ragusa said, grinning ear-to-ear, “but I was just throwing the ball and it was going in the basket. Once that happened, not only did it boost my confidence, but I feel like it boosted the team, too, because that was a big game.”

A big game it was, as Orangefield had suffered two straight losses before that matchup, and Ragusa’s outstanding performance helped change the trajectory of the season.

According to McDonald, “50 would’ve been on the table that night, but I was fearful someone might check him into the wall or something. So I had to pull him early.”

Though, as the age-old saying goes, all good things come to an end. Coming to terms with the end of a season can be a bittersweet experience, as athletes face the fact they will no longer step onto the court or field with their teammates.

For Ragusa, it was no different.

“I really didn’t want to think it was over,” he said. “It didn’t really hit me until once I got home. I took a shower, got in bed, watched the game and then it kind of hit me. I won’t be out there anymore with my coaches and teammates. It’s a blessing, make no mistake — wearing the orange and white with my friends and amazing coaches.”

It’s evident his athleticism and leadership shined on the court this season with the Bobcats, but it’s certainly not all there is.

When asked about advice he would offer to the underclassmen coming up below him, Ragusa flashed this bit of wisdom.

“Figure out what you want to do early and work at it as hard as you possibly can,” he said. “You won’t be able to do a million things in life. You aren’t going to have 15 jobs. And when you only have one job, you want to be the best at it. Whether you’re playing sports or not playing sports, you have to be the best that you can, and you have to work at it.”

Despite the disappointment of the playoff loss, Ragusa’s senior season will be one that isn’t forgotten soon at Orangefield, and his future in basketball looks bright.

With an offer from The University of Pittsburg Bradford and a couple of other visits scheduled in the spring, he is determined to continue working hard and pursuing his basketball dreams at the next level.

— Written by Clayton Eaves