Boys varsity basketball comes away with wins against Forest Hills Northern and Traverse City Central

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Following its nail-biting loss to Hudsonville on Friday, December 29th, the boys varsity basketball team sat at a 2-4 record–undoubtedly not the start to the season it wanted. However, this past weekend the team looked to even out its wins and losses against Forest Hills Northern and Traverse City Central, and that is exactly what it did.

On Friday, January 6th, the Huskies traveled to Forest Hills Central for one of the most anticipated games of the season. Both schools, due to their fierce rivalry, had impressive turnouts, which makes for increased nerves on both teams and a thrillingly exciting game. Rangerball offense put on a stellar performance the whole night, but especially in the first quarter. Just halfway through the first quarter, the score sat at 7-2 Rangers, then was 12-2 a minute later helped by a 3-pointer from Jonas VanderWoude and a 2-pointer from Sam Sneider. As the second quarter commenced, the boys were leading Forest Hills Northern 14-4.

This early-on lead propelled Rangerball to continuously leave the Huskies in the dust. Momentum is a treasured thing in sports, and at this point, its favor was all on the Rangers’ side. ¬†With three minutes left in the second quarter, the boys were up 20-6; then 24-11 going into halftime.

After halftime, Rangerball simply continued to put its talents on display. The first half of the third quarter was a stellar few minutes for the boys; they now led 33-11. Combatted by Central’s outstanding defense, or possibly intimidated by the raucous student section, Northern now seemed unable to score. That theme for them lasted until the end of the third quarter and into the start of the fourth. As the third quarter drew to a close, the boys were up 38-18, helped by a 3-pointer by Jake Koning at the buzzer.

Now, it was full steam ahead for the Rangers. The fourth quarter was no different than the earlier parts of the game; Levi McKenzie brought his team’s points up to 41 with another 3-point shot, and as the clock ticked away, the boys continued to score until they sat at an impressive 54-26 with three minutes left.

As the final buzzer rang, the scoreboard read 56-27 Rangers. This stellar game by Rangerball was an excellent way to build morale following a not-so-positive streak for the team.

“I think that the Northern game was a very big accomplishment for us, considering that we had lost the past couple years against them. Also, it is a rival game and I feel like we played extremely well as a team and on offense and defense,” states junior J Coe.

In addition to this weekend’s action, on Saturday, January 7th, the boys had the opportunity to close out another win against Traverse City Central. They seized this opportunity with full force, triumphing over their opponent 57-52. Even as Traverse City Central’s performance excelled that night, especially with star player Anthony Ribel scoring 27 points, Rangerball’s efforts still grasped them a win.

Unlike their game a day before, the boys’ defense did not start off the strongest. This slight sloppiness allowed Traverse City Central to rack up an ample amount of 3-point shots, making the score very close in the first half. However, the Rangers picking up steam a bit in the second quarter defensively allowed them to stay ahead by a few points as halftime commenced.

After halftime, both teams’ performances and shooting percentages rose. The boys managed to shake off their sluggishness, which made time for making improvements all around in offense and defense executions. At this point, the Rangers’ small lead began to stretch away from their opponent, but not by much; Traverse City Central’s luck that night continued on, allowing them to keep the third quarter still relatively close.

The last bundle of minutes is when things began to intensify even more. The air became charged with glee from the visitors’ side and anxiety from FHC’s Jungle as the score remained neck and neck. As the clock ran down, a few penalty points allowed the team to hang on to its hard-fought lead, making for the final score 57-52.

“Overall, the game was a good win after coming off of a big game Saturday. As a team, we will take it with confidence moving forward into our later games regarding execution and defense. However, we can all agree that was not our finest couple of hours performance-wise. We have lots to learn from to prepare for playing Byron Center on Tuesday,” finalizes junior Adam Gray.

As stated above, Rangerball’s next matchup is set for another local foe. This past weekend will surely act as a confidence boost for the team, and they look to continue their winning streak against Byron Center on Tuesday, January 10th at home.