Raines is a Good Thing
By: Jordan Ferrell
What do you expect out of a game with first place on the line? If your answer is a low-scoring overtime thriller that comes down to a last second three, then this was the game for you. Landrum and St Joe’s battled it out Tuesday night at “The Cage” at Landrum. The Cards came into the matchup on a hot streak, having won their last 5 and averaging 64 points per game. For St. Joe’s, it was quite the opposite, having lost 3 of their last 5 games after starting the season 5-0.
Early on, they both took it slow. The Cardinals hit back to back 3’s from Cooper Gentry and Ethan Dugat before the teams tried to go inside with little success, playing good defense in the post. The Knights struggled shooting, with point guard Davis Satterfield carrying them. Landrum outrebounded St Joe’s, however, with the pace of the game they did not get many fast breaks in the early going.
The 2nd quarter saw much more action, as both squads mixed their tempos well. Landrum continued to struggle in the paint, but picked up big threes from Cooper Gentry, Mason Raines, and Kolbyn Jackson to keep it close. But, momentum was on the Knights’ side as St. Joe’s took a 24-23 lead to the half, sinking a 3 at the buzzer.
There wasn’t much in the way of scoring in the 2nd half. Both Landrum and St Joe’s took the slow and steady approach through the remainder of regulation and in the overtime period. They passed it around and moved around the perimeter a lot trying to wear each other down up until the final minutes in regulation. Landrum had a late 2 called off by a charge that could’ve decided it. St. Joe’s responded to that turnover with a late basket of their own to go up 2. Then came one of the 2 heroic moments in the game as Landrum’s center Ethan Dugat put up a clutch layup to tie the game and drew the and 1 with less than a minute to play. He missed the freethrow, but it didn’t end up mattering, as this game went to overtime tied at 41.
Overtime saw pretty much no offense at all, as both teams played “Who wants the last shot?” St. Joe’s had a chance at it as they held onto the ball when the clock went under a minute. They drove the lane with about :10 to go and missed the contested layup. The Knights came up with the offensive rebound, but were called for a travel.
Then, enter the hero. Landrum went down the court with just a couple of seconds left, when junior point guard Mason Raines called game. He drained a beautiful 3 at the buzzer to lift Landrum to the 44-41 W and 1st place in region 1-AA.
I was most impressed with 3 players for Landrum. I knew about the talented 3 sport athlete Cooper Gentry coming into tonight. He was a thorn in St Joe’s side all night, finding ways to get open and making clutch shots. Cooper was definitely a factor, leading all Cardinal scorers with 14 points. I was also thoroughly impressed with the size and drive of Ethan Dugat. At 6’4”/270, the kid is hard to guard. Dugat had 10 points, and showed he can shoot from anywhere in spite of his size that screams “Send me inside”, with a pair of 3’s and a long 2 as well as the game tying 2 and 1 late. But, they pale in comparison to the confidence shown by the 5’9”/193 lb Mason Raines. He’s proof that size does not matter. He sunk 3 beautiful 3 pointers on the game for 9 points, but with the game on the line in the final second of overtime, he threw it up from downtown without hesitation like it was nothing. Who doesn’t enjoy such quiet confidence?
The Cardinals, now all alone in the catbird seat in the region, will take on St Joe’s again on Friday night at SJCHS. If tonight was any indication, that game could also be a real treat worth keeping up with!