Boys varsity basketball trumps Northview 55-48, sweeps season series


Dallas Hopson strokes it for a three

Just three short weeks ago, the boys varsity basketball team played its first game of the season against Northview. After waiting for ages to finally play, the Rangers started off the year in the right way with a win. While working through the conference schedule, FHC found itself face-to-face with the mighty Wildcats once more.

Desperate to make a leap in the OK White standings, this game was monumental for the Rangers’ season. With the postseason looming, FHC’s playoff seeding will be determined by its execution in the final stretch. Against Northview, nobody was a better ambassador of these ideas than senior Jonah Spates. In a 55-48 victory for the Rangers, Spates scored a season and team-high of 13 points on over fifty percent shooting. In conjunction with his scoring ability, Jonah did a phenomenal job on the defensive end. This outstanding effort and performance have become a trend as of late. 

 “He made some unbelievable effort plays to start the game that really set the tone for us,” head coach Kyle Carhart said. “Jonah was given a big-time defensive assignment and embraced it once again.” 

Jonah Spates prepares to shoot a free throw

“Our seniors led us from the beginning,” Carhart added. This was certainly the case, as all but one point scored in the first quarter was attributed to a senior. The Rangers took an astounding four charges in this first eight minutes and held Northview to just four points. FHC led 10-4 by the end of one. 

As the second quarter was underway, it looked to be more of the same from Rangerball. Junior Jacob Bonnett scored his first basket of the game, thanks to a pretty assist by senior Peyton Bush. Shortly after, Bonnett threw a gorgeous pass to Dallas Hopson, as the senior finished it right at the basket. Despite the run, the Wildcats began to tighten the ship. Northview exploded for a 15-2 run in the span of four minutes, as it surpassed the Rangers on the scoreboard. Nevertheless, an impressive and-one by Jacob Bonnett near the halftime buzzer earned FHC some momentum back. At the break, Rangerball trailed 25-23.


Jacob Ervin closes out his man and forces him to dump it off

Entering the third quarter, FHC started to catch its groove. Junior Conner Milton scored after being shut out in the first half, which he would follow with a deflection on the other end and another basket. As Rangerball narrowed the lead, it’s turn had come to make a run. Senior Chris Battiste tied the game with a basket and then gave the stage to fellow senior Dallas Hopson for the taking. Hopson erupted for eight points unanswered, which included two three-pointers. This tremendous boost gave the lead right back to FHC at the conclusion of the third quarter.

The FHC bench erupts after a Ranger run









With just eight minutes to play, the Rangers would need another strong defensive performance in order to hold on. Trying to contain junior Kyler Vanderjagt—a state-renowned superstar—is easier said than done, as FHC poured its resources into limiting Vanderjagt’s impact. Just as it had started, the Ranger senior class proved its worth yet again. Chris grabbed some crucial late rebounds, as Jonah continued to show out. Despite instances of unnecessary turnovers and unforced errors, FHC combated the Wildcats offensively strategy and closed it out by a final score of 55-48.

“We certainly had some tense moments late, but all of our guys did a nice job of executing and making winning plays,” coach Kyle Carhart stated postgame. “We know that we need 13 guys engaged in the game for us to be successful and I was excited that was the case again for us tonight.” Highlighted by effort and heart, the Rangers showed up to a massive extent, especially in the final minutes.

Conner Milton focuses on draining a foul shot

Although it was a generally low-scoring affair, there is a lot to be proud of on the stat-sheet for FHC. Conner Milton posted a quiet nine points and nine rebounds, displaying the discreet yet productive nature of his game. Jacob Bonnett and Dallas Hopson both notched double-figure scoring nights with 11, a number that is quite promising for FHC’s backcourt morale. Leading the team, nonetheless, was senior Jonah Spates. His 13 points along with stellar defensive served as the deciding factor in such a close game down the stretch. As a senior, Spates uses the first game of the season as his motor.

“The league came to the consensus that the last time we beat them, it was an upset. So that really motivated me,” spoke Jonah, addressing his breakout night. “We just have to keep doing the same thing we did tonight and play hard.” 

Additionally, this time of year poses no opportunity for Rangerball to dwell on the past, whether it be a win or a loss. This upcoming weekend, FHC will challenge the conference’s two best teams, Forest Hills Northern and Grand Rapids Christian. Playing on back-to-back days, the Rangers will look to avenge early-season losses to both squads. 

“We are, first and foremost, excited to get the chance to play and compete against great players. It will be important that our guys are mentally prepared” coach Carhart exclaimed. “I think our players will be physically ready to play; it will be the execution against all of the different things that are thrown at us where players will need to be tuned it.”

FHC goes on the road Friday, March 5th to battle the Huskies of FHN at 7. The following day, Rangerball turns around quickly and takes on Grand Rapids Christian in yet another spectacular showdown.