Boys varsity basketball splits weekend series with Greenville and Hudsonville


The 2021 OK-White conference is no joke. At FHC, the boys varsity basketball team faced off against three top-5 teams in the region in its first three games. Rangerball exited the opening gauntlet with a 1-2 record, right before having to turn around and play on back-to-back days on Friday against the Greenville Yellow Jackets and Saturday versus the Hudsonville Eagles. Following two gritty, determined performances from the Rangers, it is clear that FHC’s readiness and focus can be the deciding factor. A tremendous team performance paved the way for a commanding 82-47 victory over Greenville. On Saturday, unfortunately, FHC could not find its way and came up short in a 69-56 defeat. 

Heading into Friday night, Rangerball was looking forward to catching its rhythm coming out of such a challenging start of the season. Traveling to Greenville, FHC stood as favorites against yet another conference foe. Out of the gate, the Rangers stole the show. The team jumped out to an early 9-0 lead, which progressed into a 12-point advantage to end the first quarter. FHC enjoyed the comfortable position in which it sat, as every single Ranger joined the scoring column by the end of three quarters. 

In the end, the Gang Green did not trail once. Junior Conner Milton boasted an impressive line of 13 points and nine rebounds, along with nine points and six assists from fellow junior Benny Scholler. Leading all scorers, however, was Jeremy James. He shot over forty percent from the field and splashed four three-pointers, putting up 15 points in the process. The shooting success from James this season cannot be understated, as the senior guard continues to prove his worth to this basketball team. 

“Our team did a great job of getting out to an early lead, and I got a lot of minutes in return. It’s definitely fun contributing at the level that I did,” Jeremy said following his career-high scoring effort. “I always just stay confident in my shot and know that the next one is gonna drop.” 

Friday night’s statistic sheet included a nine-point outing from senior Chris Battiste, as well as six from junior Joe Seurynck in his first minutes this season. Likewise, junior Pierson Vangorp saw healthy playing time in his first varsity moments. He scored two points and grabbed three rebounds.

“We had great contributions from all of our players on Friday,” praised head coach Kyle Carhart. “It was a true team effort.”

Making the transition from one game to the next, however, is easier said than done. Following the victory at Greenville, FHC hosted Hudsonville less than 24 hours later. Facing a much tougher Eagle team, the Rangers started off sloppy. Especially on the defensive end, the opposing team saw far-too-many open looks all around the court. Rangerball trailed by a slim margin for much of the first half, as the team finished the second quarter down on the scoreboard by single digits. Junior Jacob Bonnett led FHC scorers with ten. 

As the third quarter began, Hudsonville’s execution and togetherness were becoming more and more prevalent. As for the Rangers, turnovers and missed free throws plagued this fatigued squad. Entering the final eight minutes of play, the Eagles led 51-40. Despite the lead slipping away, the second and third quarters saw significant efforts from senior Jacob Ervin. The senior leader was up to six points, in addition to a handful of big plays in crucial moments. Alas, FHC’s comeback bid was unsuccessful; the Rangers lost by 13 and now sit below .500 with a 2-3 record. However, another 20-point performance from rising star Jacob Bonnett proves that the Rangers have what it takes to play at a higher level. 

“Hudsonville played a good game and we had a tough time on our off-ball defense,” Jacob “Erv” Ervin spoke after the game. “Looking forward, we need to make sure we always have a guy help-side as well as a guy two passes away dropping down into help when someone else is driving into the lane.” Ervin played a large role in FHC’s scheme on Saturday, scoring his season-high. As the schedule moves along, the Rangers must prepare for more mentally-exhausting slates of games down the road. 

“It’s really hard as a unit to stay in rhythm from game to game. We struggled to have the focus necessary to be successful. We did not execute as well as we hoped we would,” coach Carhart stated. “That comes down to coaching, and I know that I need to do a better job to get our players prepared and put in positions to help us be successful.” Carhart—as well as his team—knows that it would be immensely difficult to beat this FHC team at its very best. 

“On Saturday, we had some good competitive spirit and had great contributions from [senior Matthew] Mahoney and Erv in particular,” he added when asked about some positive takeaways from the outing.

Looking ahead, Rangerball has three more games on the slate for this upcoming week. FHC goes on the road on Tuesday, February 23 to battle Byron Center in efforts to limp back to .500. Shortly after, the team hosts two consecutive games in three days, encountering East Grand Rapids on Thursday and Lowell on Saturday.