Boys varsity basketball bests Covenant Christian in 50-41 victory


In the world of sports, one mantra stands out above all others: defense wins championships.

Facing a fundamentally-sound Covenant Christian team, boys varsity basketball took this well-known slogan to heart. Although no championships were won, a phenomenal defensive effort from FHC paved the way for a crucial 50-41 victory over the Chargers. In an incredibly scrappy game, the “stick-to-itiveness”—in the interviewer’s own words—from the team was something that stood out to head coach Kyle Carhart. 

“I am not sure that there is another word for it!” coach Carhart joked following the win. “It was just a really impressive, gritty, tough win from a competitive group. We did not shoot the ball or execute all that well but we had tough-minded guys make winning plays down the stretch and staying connected as a team throughout the game.” Despite some flaws, the competitive spirit of this team was on display, especially in the final minutes. 

As seen before this season, the Rangers started off sloppy. Two costly turnovers to begin the game, and a couple of Covenant Christian buckets saw FHC face a 9-0 deficit. Shortly after, FHC began to tighten the screws on defense. For the remainder of the entire first half, Rangerball allowed just ten points. 

Slowly but surely, the Rangers closed the gap on the scoreboard. Seniors Dallas Hopson, Chris Battiste, and Jeremy James all scored baskets in the first quarter, cutting the Charger advantage from 9-0 to 12-6. In the subsequent eight minutes, FHC began to warm up offensively. Junior Jacob Bonnett splashed a triple, shortly before nabbing a steal and dishing a pass to senior Peyton Bush for an easy lay-in. After back-to-back scores by Jacob Ervin and Chris Battiste, fellow senior Dallas Hopson converted on an acrobatic finish at the rim as the first-half buzzer sounded. Heading into the lockers, Rangerball trailed 19-17. 

As the game progressed, the intensity continued to skyrocket. Junior Conner Milton checked in the game and came away with a couple of major scores and rebounds. About halfway through the third quarter, Dallas Hopson scored on a fastbreak to give FHC its first lead of the game. As junior Ben Scholler finished a basket in transition to extend the lead to 32-28, the narrative of the game began to shift in favor of the Rangers.

A 34-30 FHC lead to conclude the third quarter put the team in a semi-comfortable position, while a proper closeout to the game was still necessary. Much to the pleasure of coach Carhart, his team did just that. Coming away with five steals in the final four minutes of the game, FHC capitalized on its opportunities for points off of turnovers. Trailing 41-40 with 4:10 remaining, the Rangers scored the last 10 points of the game and pulled away with a 50-41 win. 

“This game was a great example that if we defend at a high level and trust our teammates, on both sides of the ball, we can find a way to have success as a team” Carhart claimed. The ruthlessness of this team’s defense was evident in the late stages of the game, proving to be a recipe of success moving forward for this squad.

The nine-point victory for the Rangers displayed a balanced scoring attack. Jacob Bonnett, Conner Milton, and Chris Battiste led the way with ten apiece; every member of the team to touch the floor reached the scoring column. Additionally, five assists from Dallas Hopson and six rebounds from Conner Milton were team-high performances. 

“No matter what happens on the offensive end of the floor there are many things that we can control,” Chris Battiste said after his double-digit scoring night. “Our effort and hustle on the defensive end got us back into the game and allowed us to keep our lead while missing shots on the other end.” The mere presence of senior leaders such as Chris gives this Rangerball squad a dimension of versatility and focus.

Wrapping up the week, the Rangers host Byron Center for their senior night celebration on Tuesday, March 16.