Boys varsity basketball is outlasted 79-74 on the road at Wyoming


Making its way through non-conference play and boasting a 2-0 record, the boys varsity basketball team looked to handle the pressure of yet another high-magnitude environment. Taking on always-formidable Wyoming on the road, the team needed to control several significant aspects of a basketball game: rebounding, pressure, and defense inside the paint. 

However, playing their best version of holiday-break basketball, the Wolves were able to have an edge on FHC in many of these categories. 

The Rangers were in the game for all 32 minutes. Yet, they were—uncharacteristically—unable to make enough winning-caliber plays. An incredible back-and-forth affair ended up swinging the home team’s way, resulting in a 79-74 Wyoming win; FHC’s first loss on the season. 

“We knew Wyoming would take some difficult shots,” head coach Kyle Carhart said. “It was critical that we were able to finish those defensive possessions.”

At the forefront of the concerns expressed by coach Carhart was undoubtedly the loose-ball matchup. Wyoming managed to grab more offensive rebounds than defensive, with a total of 14. Plus, the Rangers amassed a whopping 16 points given up off of 13 turnovers on the offensive end. 

FHC could not grasp the upper hand in the second half, primarily due to the deficit in the “hustle” stats. After being knotted up at 38 to end the first half, the Wolves turned to their main options and saw impressive results. Wyoming’s second-half lead fluctuated from just one point to as many as eleven, but the Wolves never once gave it up.

“It is hard to win close games when the other team is able to have that many more opportunities,” coach Carhart said. 

Senior Jacob Bonnett shined once again, though, notching 29 points on a night where he shot the ball at a rate greater than 60 percent from the field and nabbed 4 steals. Right alongside Jacob was sophomore Jonas VanderWoude. Jonas, who is starting to pick up steam after transferring to FHC just a month ago, knocked down 3 three-pointers in just 4 attempts. 

Although the headline of the night may be given to Ramere Draper and Quadir Hatchett of Wyoming, the Rangers did a solid job of keeping them at bay for most of the night. Seniors Conner Milton and Pierson Vangorp were considerably active on the defensive end, causing Draper to be outside of his usual comfort zone.

Conner was back to stuffing the stat sheet following a reasonably quiet game at East Kentwood the week prior. Every one of his buckets was from the paint, as he finished the night with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Still, the Wolves appeared to control the paint.

At 6-5 and signed on to play wide receiver for the Division II National Champion Ferris State University, Conner can dominate inside. So, on a night when FHC struggled to contain Wyoming on the glass, Milton was put in a unique position with his impact on each game.

“I think a lot of it falls on me,” Conner said when asked about his presence as a remarkable athlete. “I take the role very seriously because those kinds of things can make or break a game.”

Luckily for FHC, the high-quality competition does not slow up. The Rangers will face off against Division III powerhouse, Pewamo-Westphalia, at the Cornerstone Holiday Tournament on Tuesday, December 28. 

There is no doubt that FHC possesses the tools to be a contender this season; an opportunity to experience marquee matchups such as this will only strengthen this Rangerball squad come February and March.