Rangerball honors its seniors in a 62-51 win over Byron Center


The last time the boys varsity basketball team squared off against Byron Center, the Bulldogs only put up 24 points in a 30-point blowout in favor of FHC. 

So, while Rangerball was looking to celebrate its seniors with a season sweep, Byron Center was desperate for some kind of vengeance to spoil FHC’s Senior Night. 

It’s hard to describe what the senior class means to this program year after year. In fact, the Rangers picked up a Senior Night victory over Byron last year as well on a night where they honored eight seniors.

While the number of seniors may be a tad smaller this go around, it didn’t make the ceremony and festivities any less bittersweet. 

Rangerball’s Class of 2022–Ben Scholler, Pierson VanGorp, Joe Seurynck, Jacob Bonnett, Colten Jenkins, and Conner Milton–were heralded before the game for their indescribable contributions to the program. 

Still, there was a basketball game to be played. FHC mirrored its performance from 2021 en route to a 62-51 victory. Once again, the seniors led the way on their very own night in the Jungle.

“It is great watching our seniors play and have success at the varsity level,” head coach Kyle Carhart said. “These guys have done it at every level and have been so competitive; I’m just happy to see their hard work being rewarded. They’re a special group.”

Even with the emotion in the gym, it was clear from the jump that the Bulldogs were dead set on earning their revenge; they leaped to a 13-4 lead and forced a Ranger timeout. If it weren’t for the defense and scoring efforts of senior Jacob Bonnett, the 13-8 deficit for FHC at the end of the first quarter may have been a bit steeper.

The remainder of the first half was much more of a back-and-forth contest. Junior Levi McKenzie tied the score at 16 with a bucket, followed by a pair of beautiful dishes from Ben Scholler to Joe Seurynck on a senior-to-senior connection. Joe put them both away, sending both teams to the locker room deadlocked at 22.

The third quarter is where the Rangers turned the intensity up a notch. Conner Milton started to really get going, as he scored 9 of his 19 points in this stretch. Levi continued to be the shot-maker that he is, knocking down a number of outside shots when FHC needed them the most.

After leading by 11 entering the final quarter, Rangerball put the game out of reach with a quick 7-0 run to grab a 49-31 advantage. The Bulldogs had no answer for the athleticism and talent of Milton; he just kept it coming in the paint and at the free-throw line.

Although Byron fought until the very end, its last-ditch comeback effort fell short. FHC’s seniors tallied 46 of the team’s 61 points, proving their worth once again in the 62-51 triumph. Jacob and Conner had 20 and 19 points respectively, while Levi reached double-digits again with 13.

It was a feel-good night in the Jungle. The seniors were sent out with a win, while the team gathered more momentum and confidence heading into the climax of the season. The headline of the night, though, was the way the senior class celebrated its accomplishments over the past four years.

“I wouldn’t want to do it with any other teammates,” Pierson VanGorp said. “All the memories we’ve had the last four years just brings us closer.”

Rangerball will have the opportunity to pick up additional steam as it hosts Northview on Tuesday, March 1. Then, on Friday, March 4, the Rangers begin win-or-go-home basketball in MHSAA Districts.

“In order for us to have success, we have to make sure that we are sound and solid in all areas within our control,” coach Carhart said. “That includes our execution, communication, attitude, and effort.”