Rangerball falls to Northview in a 59-55 nail-biter


Before setting its sights on the 2022 playoffs, the boys varsity basketball team had some business to attend to first; the conference-leading Northview Wildcats traveled to FHC’s Jungle on Tuesday in the regular season’s final game.

The matchup at Northview’s gym in mid-February saw the Rangers take the Wildcats down to the wire. Tuesday night was no different, as back-and-forth efforts were prevalent until the final minute. 

In the end, Northview made its fair share of clutch buckets on its way to escaping with a 59-55 victory to clinch the OK White outright.

“I think our guys know they can play with anybody,” head coach Kyle Carhart said postgame. “I am extremely proud of the effort and competitive spirit they played with.”

There is no doubt that the Rangers left it all out on the floor. Heading into the game, the main focus was containing senior phenom Kyler Vanderjagt, who dropped 33 on FHC a few weeks back. 

These efforts seemed to go a long way in the early going. Senior Jacob Bonnett gave FHC a 10-9 lead with a three-ball, and shortly after, fellow senior Conner Milton scored at the first-quarter buzzer to put the Rangers behind by just one.

They trailed by a single point again to end the first half and came out in the third quarter with unmatched energy. Milton was a catalyst, as he blew by a defender and threw down a right-hand jam. He led all scorers with 14 points heading into the final quarter.

The Wildcats began to tighten the screws on both ends. Vanderjagt started to get wide-open looks at the rim, which put the Rangers at a late deficit. Unfortunately for FHC, Northview capitalized on its offensive opportunities in the final minutes. A valiant effort fell short for the Rangers, as they dropped the last game of the regular season.

Conner put up an impressive stat-line with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Jacob notched 15 points, and junior Levi McKenzie scored 11.

Now, FHC can focus all of its attention on the upcoming MHSAA District Tournament. First on the slate is the Yellow Jackets of Greenville–a team the Rangers will need to topple on Monday, March 7, in order to move on to Rockford.

“In the playoffs, everything just gets turned up a little higher,” coach Carhart said. “We talk regularly about how slim the margin for error is in order for us to be successful.”