Boys varsity basketball falls just short against Hudsonville


After emerging victorious against Covenant Christian two days prior, Rangerball was set to play local powerhouse Hudsonville in the finals of the Cornerstone Holiday Tournament. As Hudsonville is renowned for being one of the top teams in the area, the boys knew they’d have to give it their all to come out on top–that they did, but unfortunately, the Rangers fell 54-50 against the Eagles.

Getting out to a quick start is essential to the outcome of games, but due to a couple of star players on the opposing side, the first quarter did not end in the boys’ favor. Starters Levi McKenzie, Nate Delaney, Ty Hudkins, Jonas VanderWoude, and Brady Miller kept the score close for the first few minutes, with the scoreboard reading 9-8 halfway through the first quarter; then Rangerball’s performance began to ebb slightly, allowing Hudsonville to take the first 16-11.

The second quarter, regardless of the boys’ efforts, went similarly. Halfway through the second, the score read 22-15 Rangers. At this point, momentum was surely on Hudsonville’s side. However as the first half narrowed to a close, the boys managed to shake off some bad luck and close Hudsonville’s lead down to only three points and the score was a nail-biting 20-23 going into halftime.

Halftime provides a much-needed reset for players and coaches, but its benefits could not be fully reaped by Rangerball. As the third quarter went underway, Hudsonville began to peel away again, stretching their lead out to 31-23. Unlike their previous game, the Rangers’ defense was struggling at times to effectively create stops. As the third quarter ended, the score read 39-29.

But this is when the boys began to pick up steam–the fourth quarter was a charged, heated few minutes. For both teams, scoring percentages rose greatly, making for the scoreboard reading 41-35 four minutes into the fourth. Now, possibly compelled by desperation or Hudsonville’s struggle to close out the game, the Rangers went on a scoring streak. Just a minute later, the score was now 45-41, the closest the gap had been between the two teams all game. Forest Hills Central’s representation grew to a deafening noise, especially as Levi scored three penalty points and a two-pointer to bring Rangerball to a mere one-point trail.

With two minutes to go, the score was 47-46, and the audience was on the edge of their seats. At this point, anything could have happened–but sadly, the final couple of minutes did not work in the Rangers’ favor, resulting in a 54-50 loss to Hudsonville.

But even with their loss, evident positives remain tangible. “We were down going into the fourth quarter and we came back and fought hard. We were only down one point near the end of the fourth, so we know that we are willing to win and that we can handle the pressure,” junior J Coe noted.

Additionally, new varsity player Brady Miller had his talents on full display, being one of the top scorers that night- and junior Jonas VanderWoude was selected for the all-tournament team, meaning his performance set him in the top twelve to fourteen players in the tournament.

Now, the boys get a chance to recoup, reset and recover during a New Years’ break, before facing rival Forest Hills Northern at home on Friday, January 6 in what will undoubtedly be a fierce matchup.