Boys varsity basketball picks up a 60-54 win against Byron Center on Senior Night


Following a massive victory over Covenant Christian, the boys varsity basketball team honored its seniors. In a year unlike any other, the Senior Night tradition remained an uplifting constant. Sending off the class of 2021 in the proper way, Rangerball triumphed over Byron Center by a score of 60-54. The senior leaders on this team have certainly been a part of a special culture, and the thoughts expressed by the players reflect just that.

#2 G/F Jonah Spates: “I grew up watching FHC basketball. Everything about being a part of it is just amazing, and doing it with some of my best friends in my last year just makes it even better.”

#4 G Jeremy James: “It’s been a crazy year and season, and I’ve had a blast helping lead this team as a senior in my final year playing basketball.”

#0 G Dallas Hopson: “We’ve looked up to seniors and varsity players since we were ‘young bucks’ and worked super hard up to this point. It feels great to be a senior and inspiration to kids in the area.”

#15 F Cam David: “Being able to be a part of this team makes life a whole lot easier by being able to count on any player for anything.” 

#14 F Jacob Ervin: “Rangerball has been a big part of my life for a while, so being a senior on the team is a very important thing for me. Growing up, I always saw senior nights with the Jungle going crazy the whole game, so being in that same spot with our limited fans was super and an experience I’ll remember forever.” 

#21 F Chris Battiste: “With the year being as complicated and strange as its been, being a part of the senior class and being around my fellow seniors on the team has made it an extremely special season.”

#3 G Peyton Bush: “Our senior year has been crazy because at the beginning of the season, we had no clue if we were going to play, and proving a lot of people wrong by winning as many games as we have has been really special.”

#5 F Matthew Mahoney: “Being a part of Rangerball has been such a big part of my life, and it all came together last night. It’s been so fun to play and win championships with some of my best friends, and my time in the program is something I will cherish forever.”

Without question, the value of this class as a whole has brought a tremendous amount of leadership to this Ranger squad; the collective effort of this year’s seniors is second to none.

After the Senior Night ceremonies concluded, it was time for an outstanding matchup to take place. FHC got the best of Byron Center earlier in the year; therefore, the team was out for blood. Sticking true to this mantra, the Bulldogs jumped to an early 8-3 advantage. The Rangers, nevertheless, had an immediate answer. Over the next few minutes, junior Jacob Bonnett would score nine straight points for FHC, taking over the lead at 12-11. With a pair of buckets from senior Jonah Spates, Rangerball grabbed an 18-13 lead to finish the first quarter.

As he had ended the first, senior Jacob Ervin kicked off the second quarter with a basket in the paint. Erv would finish with eight at halftime, showcasing his tremendous worth and impact. In conjunction with another Jacob Bonnett three-pointer and the first points from senior Chris Battiste, FHC entered halftime up by a margin of 29-23. 

The second half saw supreme contributions from a variety of Rangers. Conner Milton and Peyton Bush entered the scoring column shortly after play resumed, extending the lead. Byron Center, however, made a run of its own. The Bulldogs tied the game at 37, which was quickly broken by a clutch triple from Chris Battiste to retake the lead.

With a Dallas Hopson basket, FHC closed out the third quarter on a positive note. Up 46-41 heading into the final stretch, the Rangers posted an impressive fourth quarter to effectively close out the game. Battiste knocked down another three, followed by consecutive scores from Jacob Bonnett and Jonah Spates. After sinking the game-sealing free throws, FHC strutted away with an astounding 60-54 victory.

Looking ahead, Rangerball closes out its season on Thursday, March 19th as the team travels to East Grand Rapids. At the conclusion of this rivalry game, FHC turns to the brightest of lights: the MHSAA playoffs. With a rematch from last year against Rockford on the horizon, an increase in intensity and enthusiasm such as this has translated to a much-needed surge late in the season.