Rangerball bounces back with a two-win weekend


Less than 72 hours after taking Northview to its knees on the road, the boys varsity basketball team was staring at a grueling weekend slate. 

In back-to-back game-days, FHC squared off against Grand Rapids Christian on Friday before turning right around to play Traverse City St. Francis, an MHSAA Class C powerhouse. Despite the level of competition, the Rangers did their job each day on both ends of the floor.

In less than a 24-hour span, Rangerball used its togetherness and intensity to knock off two highly-ranked teams in the state of Michigan. The seven and nine-point victories signify FHC’s re-vamped ability to finish games.

“We were able to get stops defensively and get great trips offensively,” head coach Kyle Carhart said. “We made winning plays from all of our guys.”

Against GRC on Friday, it was simply a matter of wanting it more. The Eagles–the only team to beat Northview so far–have a surplus of talent and are not afraid to show it. Regardless, the Rangers exercised their will and toughness all game long, eventually pulling away to win 55-48.

A pair of three-pointers from senior Jacob Bonnett kept FHC afloat early on. In fact, he notched nine of the team’s 11 first-quarter points. It was crucial to get Jacob at this juncture, as the Eagles clung to a 6-point lead in the second.

But, thanks to fellow senior Conner Milton, the Rangers quickly erased their deficit. He was all over the place in the second quarter, grabbing rebounds left and right and scoring inside. 

Conner tied the game at 20 to cap off a 6-0 run in less than two minutes, which was followed by a beautiful pass by Jake Koning to fellow junior Nate Delaney. Nate finished the play, giving the Rangers their first lead of the night. 

Holding a one-point lead at halftime, FHC knew that this one would come down to the wire. Throughout the entire third quarter, the lead never climbed more than five points on either side.

Conner and Jacob completely took over the fourth. They scored every team field goal in the final quarter, as the defensive showing was just enough to mount an eight-point lead and never look back. Milton and Bonnett combined for a mind-blowing 46 points in the team’s 55-48 triumph.

Having to regather themselves for a matinee matchup on Saturday, the boys fed off the momentum from the night prior. 

A head-to-head contest with Traverse City St. Francis was certainly an intriguing one entering the day. St. Francis–who has state title hopes year-in and year-out–had the chance to come into Godwin Heights and prove its highly-ranked status.

“It’s no secret: playing against good teams helps prepare us for the playoffs,” coach Carhart said.

It wasn’t just going to be that easy for the Gladiators, especially with the energy FHC seemed to possess all game long. And, when the Rangers can shoot it at a 50-percent clip from long range, they’re an incredibly tough team to beat. The 56-47 final in favor of FHC displays just that.

Once senior Ben Scholler nabbed a steal just 30 seconds into the game and took it the other way for a layup, it was evident that TCSF was going to have to fight to win this one. Unfortunately for the Gladiators, it seemed that FHC was on its game.

Thanks to extraordinary defense, the Rangers took a 15-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. This allowed them to take their time on offense and dictate the tempo.

“We just played really good defense from the start,” Ben said postgame. “It helped us gather momentum and win in the long run.”

From there on out, Rangerball was able to settle into a groove and simply make more plays than the opposition. Despite a wishy-washy finish where the boys let a 17-point lead evaporate into just nine, they closed out a gritty, much-needed weekend with a 56-47 victory over an extremely solid team and program.

Conner was named the MVP of the Godwin showcase with his 16 points and 11 rebounds against St. Francis. Also stuffing the stat sheet was sophomore Jonas VanderWoude, who hit three triples to finish with 11 points. The Rangers got additional workloads from Jacob Bonnett, Pierson VanGorp, Levi McKenzie, and Sam Sneider. 

As Rangerball improves to 11-6 on the year, a trio of games remain on the horizon. In the upcoming week, the boys make the trek to Greenville on Tuesday before hosting Byron Center for a Friday-night showdown in the Jungle. Then, to cap off the year, the mighty Wildcats of Northview come to town for the regular season’s final game.

“We want to be playing our best basketball as we get into March,” coach Carhart said. “For us, we need to limit defensive mistakes while still playing with great effort.”