Randolph Southern senior Ragan joins 1,000-point club as Patriots still eye first win

Randolph Southern's Rhett Ragan scored 12 points in Tuesday's loss to Grace Christian, but it was point No. 5 early in the second half which pushed him over 1,000 for his career.

Randolph Southern's Rhett Ragan scored 12 points in Tuesday's loss to Grace Christian, but it was point No. 5 early in the second half which pushed him over 1,000 for his career.

SHELLMAN — Rhett Ragan didn’t hesitate when asked the question.

“Would I rather have 1,000 points or a win?” he repeated aloud. “That’s easy. I’d trade every one of those points for a W.”

It’s been a bittersweet season for the Randolph Southern senior, who became the latest Southwest Georgia hoops star to reach 1,000 career points recently when he scored 12 in Tuesday’s game against Grace Christian.

The only problem? The milestone came in a tough, 62-52 loss — and that’s a trend that’s plagued the Patriots all year.

To the tune of 18 in a row.

“Bittersweet is the perfect word to describe how I feel about (reaching 1,000),” Ragan said. “Our fans came out and had pictures of my face and were cheering me on before I got to 1,000 — but it was heartbreaking to hit that milestone and lose the game.”

Ragan said he didn’t know so many kids at Randolph Southern were paying attention to his quest. After all, the Patriots are 0-18 — the only boys or girls team in Southwest Georgia that’s still winless — and everyone at school is aware of that.

“To be honest, I have no idea where they even got my picture from,” he said with a laugh. “There was over 30 people there waving the signs. I had no idea they we’re going to do that — but it felt good.”

Ragan, who reached the milestone this season despite only seeing playing time on varsity the last three years, actually could’ve hit 1,000 points one game earlier against Emanuel Christian out of Dothan, Ala. But Ragan’s coach, Bob Ragan — his father — decided that in a season of lows, his kids and his son deserved at least one high.

“We sat him out in that game because we wanted him to hit it at home in front of our fans,” Bob Ragan said before adding with a chuckle: “When you’re (0-18), I think we can get away with that.”

Rhett, who needed just five points coming into the game against Grace, started slow Tuesday and only had four points at halftime. But shortly after coming out in the second half, he took an outlet pass, dribbled once and popped a jumper.

Swish! Milestone reached.

“We did stop the game and acknowledge it,” Bob said. “We told the officials beforehand, so they we’re OK with it. We announced it over the PA system and the fans gave him big a cheer. It was a nice moment.

“It’s something not a lot of kids accomplish, and considering he didn’t score a single point as a freshman, it’s even more impressive to me. Now he’s our leading scorer (at 18 points a game).”

Speaking of accomplishments, Rhett knows he has a long way to go to become the most famous “Ragan” in Shellman. After all, his cousin, Madison, was recently named The Herald’s Player of the Year for softball — and she’s only a junior.

“I’ve got a few more awards to go before I can catch her,” Rhett joked when asked about Madison, who has led the Lady Patriots to back-to-back state title series and was also the GISA’s Class AA Player of the Year. “I’m not sure I will, though.”

First things first, Rhett: a win would be a nice start.

“Yes, sir. I agree. We want that win worse than anything — and I think before the season ends, we’re going to get it,” he said. “We’ve got several winable games coming up, like Byne (tonight), which barely beat us earlier in the season in our first game, and Crisp Academy on Friday. I truly feel like that’s a game we should win, too.

“It hasn’t been a great season, but we’ve still got time. I definitely don’t want to tell the story one day how I got 1,000 points — but we didn’t win a single game.”

Talk about bittersweet.