Boys varsity basketball prevails over Byron Center in overtime 58-56


On Tuesday, January 10th, Rangerball took on local powerhouse Byron Center, known for its skill and talent on the court. Following wins over Forest Hills Northern and Traverse City Central, the boys were up for another tough matchup–but the momentum carried on from those victories allowed them to continue their winning streak. This year’s triumph over Byron Center makes it the third year in a row, and this year’s game could not have been more thrilling.

But the game’s close score does not reflect the course of the game. Right out of the gate, the boys found themselves falling behind their opponent due to a slow start and poor rebounding. The first half is when Byron Center’s talents were on full display, and this was especially highlighted in the first quarter. Getting out to a slow beginning in any sports competition is never good, and the effects of that verberated throughout the entire first half for the boys. Encouraged by the Rangers’ off performance, Byron Center’s physicality was evident in both their offense and defense, allowing them to garner a substantial lead going into the second quarter.

As the second quarter commenced, the team could not get back on their feet just yet. Although not extremely far behind their opponent, finding themselves down by about 10 points, no substantial prowess could be made by the boys. This was due to a couple of reasons–star players on the opposing side, such as Austin Buckley scoring a run of 3-pointers, and Rangerball’s temporary hindrance to effectively communicate and rebound. At this point, favor shined on Byron Center.

Going into halftime, morale was low and desperation was high on the Rangers’ side. But sometimes, all that is needed for momentum shifts is a break. Following halftime, things began to turn around dramatically for the boys. Fueled by an impassioned speech from coach Carhart, reformulated defense strategies and higher energy all around began to pay off. As the team began to fight back, the scoreboard reflected their efforts, and Byron Center’s lead was closed to only a few points as the fourth quarter started.

Now, most likely due to Rangerball’s newfound momentum, Byron Center’s offense began to falter. In turn, the boys’ offense and rebounds improved, closing down their trail.

“We grew to become the tougher team,” comments junior Adam Gray. “They didn’t know what to do with our newfound hustle and strength.”

Successful charge attempts by seniors Sam Sneider and Jake Koning, as well as contributions from top scorers Jonas VanderWoude with 17 points and Jake Koning with 11 points greatly assisted in the Rangers’ fight. These efforts forced the game to stretch into overtime, making for Byron Center and the boys being neck and neck. Overtime was nothing short of an electric and tension-filled bundle of minutes but proved to fall in Rangerball’s favor. With 1.3 seconds left, junior Brady Miller executed a game-winning layup to secure another win for Forest Hills Central.

As of late, Rangerball’s hard work has been evident on the court. This impressive win further bolsters their reputation and record, and they will be put to the test again on Friday, January 13th when they face off against Northview, another formidable team.