Bobcats beat Buna in district opener
Last updated 12/20/2022 at 9:41am
One boys basketball team in Orange County began its district schedule Tuesday, December 13. The Orangefield Bobcats opened the district at home with a win against their longtime rivals the Buna Cougars.
The game started like it would be an easy win for the Bobcats as they scored the first five points on two baskets by Pete Ragusa. Buna cut the lead to two points before Orangefield went on an 11-3 run with a three-point play by Koen Maddox and four field goals split between Kane Smith and Jaden Scales.
The Cougars got a three-point basket late in the first quarter to cut the Bobcat lead to seven points. Their point guard Garrison Connell made a shot at the buzzer to make the score 18-13 after one period.
The second quarter started much as the first did with the Bobcats scoring early. Zane Wrinkle scored four points to help Orangefield open up another ten-point lead 27-17 with about three minutes left before halftime.
Once again Buna bounced back and scored ten of the final twelve points of the quarter. Connell added a second buzzer beater to make the score 29-27 in favor of the Bobcats as the teams went to their locker rooms.
Buna Coach David Wilson must have given a good talk to his Cougars at the half as they came out for the third quarter on fire. Buna grabbed a 34-31 lead before Ragusa sank a three-pointer to tie the score.
Orangefield took a three-point lead only to see Buna respond with five straight points to retake the advantage 39-37. The Bobcats' Brayden Parker made two late baskets but for the third time Connell got the last shot at the buzzer to give the Cougars a 43-41 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
Orangefield's Scales started the final period with a huge three-pointer to put the Bobcats back on top to stay. Wrinkle, Ragusa, Parker, and Scales strung together four straight baskets for Orangefield to make the score 54-45 with 2:57 to play in the game.
There was no miracle finish for the Cougars. Parker made sure of that by sinking five of six from the free throw line in the closing minutes to insure the 63-56 victory for Orangefield.
Bobcat Coach Jake McDonald was relieved to get the win over Buna. "Those guys had a great game plan tonight. I felt like we were a little lethargic in the middle portion of the game. At the end of the day I think part of being a good team is figuring out how to win when maybe you don't have your best night, you don't have your A-game. Hats off to the Bobcats we had several guys step up tonight and do big things down the stretch," McDonald replied.
Ragusa was the leading scorer for Orangefield with 17 points. Parker and Scales both contributed 13 points in the game. Wrinkle scored 9 points, was the leading Bobcat rebounder with 7 boards, and was tied with Cameron Dischler making 3 steals apiece.
The win over their longtime rival Buna was big but being the first game in district makes the triumph even bigger. McDonald explained, "You always want to start 1-0, especially when we don't have another district game until January, so we've got a couple weeks to get our legs back underneath us. I think sometimes playing the amount of games we played the previous weekend can be a blessing and a curse. Definitely going 1-0 is huge as far as accomplishing the goals we want to accomplish."
Tournament action for the Orangefield Bobcats will occupy the next couple of weeks. The Bobcats resume district action on Tuesday, January 3, at Hardin. The next district home game for Orangefield will be Friday, January 6, against Warren.