It had been 36 days since a Raymore-Peculiar varsity basketball team won a game going into last Tuesday night’s Ray-Pec vs. St. Teresa’s girls matchup. The short month of February passed without any wins on the hardwood. Wednesday marked 37 days.
38 days was the tally when the boys took on Rockhurst in their first battle of the postseason. Their first District game proved to be their last as a 31-point, running clock ending (the second of the night) captured the overall feeling of the Panthers’ disappointing season.
But now the bleeding has finally ended for the two Ray-Pec squads, and they can set their sights toward next season, or, at least, spring sports.
“We’re notoriously slow starters,” Lady Panthers head coach Brad Gaines said after their loss to St. Teresa’s. Ray-Pec fell behind 9-0 at the start of the game, unable to find a way to narrow the gap.
“It’s really been a re-enactment of the season…I can’t count the number of games we’ve come out and buried ourselves in during the first two or three minutes of the game. That’s what we’ve had to battle with; it’s been the final score’s spread a lot of the time.”
Gaines was exactly right in this instance, as Raymore-Peculiar ended up losing that game to the Stars by exactly nine points.
The team also missed exactly nine free throws, going 5-for-14, or 36%.
“Our league’s tough,” Gaines continued, referring to the stretch of games lost going into the District Tournament. “Are we that far away from them? No.”
If that’s true, the Lady Panthers will have to overcome several odds to compete next year. The girls lost all ten of their conference games this season by an average of 19.9 points. They nearly achieved victory in their final regular season game against Blue Springs, losing by just three points.
News is no better on the boys’ side of things. The Ray-Pec men’s squad lost their last 13 games of the year after senior Mario Holman injured his knee.
The Panthers lost all ten of their conference games as well, being defeated by an average of 15.1 points. After a 28-point blowout at home against Liberty on February 13, Ray-Pec nearly gained revenge on the road the very next day to get a conference win, but the Panthers fell to the Blue Jays by a single point in Liberty.
On Thursday night, Raymore-Peculiar had a chance to salvage some of the forgettable second half of the year by getting a District win and putting themselves in the Championship game against a Lee’s Summit West team that few have a chance of stopping.
Instead, the boys got down by eleven points in the first eight minutes and went into halftime trailing by seventeen. The Panthers turned the ball over 15 times in the first half and scored just 14 points.
In all, the boys committed 28 turnovers and lost 72-41 on their home floor to end the season.
Head coach Scott Jermain was not available for comment after the game.
Back on Tuesday night, the Lady Panthers played even with St. Teresa’s in the final 27 minutes of the ballgame. The 9-0 run the Stars made off the tip was enough to keep Ray-Pec at bay. The girls actually outscored STA in the second quarter and missed a great opportunity to close the gap before halftime.
Down nine points at the five-minute mark, a power move down low by senior Suzie Lottie trimmed the gap to seven. Neither team would score over the course of the next minute, then Lottie would miss a pair of free throws.
Sophomore Adri Miller made up for those points just 15 seconds later, scoring on a fastbreak layup. The Stars’ lead was just five points and there was 3:45 left to play.
Another pair of missed free throws and three late turnovers hindered the Lady Panthers’ chance at making the game more competitive. STA closed out the quarter on a 9-5 run.
In the third quarter, the girls couldn’t get the lead to under seven points. In the fourth, a Meghan Maher three-pointer cut the lead to six, but minutes later it was as high as twelve. St. Teresa’s closed out the game winning 52-43.
Sophomore Taylor Koper led Ray-Pec with twelve points and Maher added ten.
In the boys’ game, none of the players were able to take off and lead the team offensively. The scoring was spread quite thin as senior Jason Wilson led the Panthers with eight points. Junior Jason Chambers added six and four others scored five.
The Ray-Pec boys finish the year 6-20 and the girls final record stands at 5-21. Lee’s Summit West won both sides of the District Tourney with the boys earning a 70-51 victory over Rockhurst and the girls beat STA by the same margin, winning 61-42.
In other District Tournaments, the Lee’s Summit boys defeated Blue Springs South in their Championship game, 78-74. The Park Hill boys pulled an upset over Park Hill South, winning 42-41. For the girls, Lee’s Summit North defeated Blue Springs by 14 and Truman earned a 51-43 victory over Kearney.