Boys varsity basketball caps off the regular season with a dominant 55-29 win over East Grand Rapids

With just one game remaining in the regular season, the boys varsity basketball team matched up against its cross-town foe in East Grand Rapids. After defeating the Pioneers by a sole possession earlier in the season, FHC looked to spoil EGR’s Senior Night with a morale-raising victory. The Rangers executed to a large extent, as the team pulled away in the second half and defeated its bitter rival by a score of 55-29.

Right off of the bat, both squads scored early and often. Junior Jacob Bonnett and senior Jonah Spates traded buckets, which was followed by back-to-back threes from seniors Chris Battiste and Dallas Hopson. The three-ball was a huge factor in the game, as a 40-percent outing from behind the arc severely outweighed a measly 17% from EGR. 

After Dallas knocked down another triple, the Pioneers went on a 7-0 of their own to bring the Rangers’ lead back to just two. A three-minute scoring drought from FHC was ended by a Jonah Spates three-pointer, which would spark a surge to end the first half. As senior Peyton Bush swished a pretty jumper at the buzzer, FHC held a comfortable 27-18 point advantage with one final half to play in the regular season.

Coming out of the break, Rangerball’s defensive intensity took flight. Following six straight points from the Pioneers out of the half, the triples began to rain. Jonah and fellow senior Jeremy James hit consecutive threes, and their threes were quickly complemented by two more from the likes of Dallas and junior Conner Milton. This 12-0 run in less than three minutes put the Rangers in a pristine position to close out the game. 

For the remainder of the game, FHC completely tightened the screws defensively. As the fourth quarter began, junior Benny Scholler extended the Ranger lead to a whopping 23 points with a pair of buckets. From the seven-minute mark in the third quarter to just under four minutes in the fourth, East Grand Rapids did not notch a single point. This remarkable defensive effort paved the way for a commanding 55-29 victory. 

“We were able to change our defense in the second half,” head coach Kyle Carhart claimed. “All of our players who came in were locked in and contributed with great effort and energy.” The incredible lockdown defense from the Rangers in this stretch allowed FHC to emerge triumphantly.

Leading all Ranger scorers, sixth man Dallas Hopson notched 12 points. Hopson’s shooting ability and court presence have undoubtedly been a major component in the team’s success. Following right behind, Jonah Spates and Jacob Bonnett scored eight apiece. Although Conner Milton scored just seven points, he grabbed an impressive 12 rebounds. 

“[The run in the second half] was mostly because of the second chance opportunities and the momentum,” junior Conner Milton spoke postgame. “It just demoralizes the opponents which ultimately leads to our success.” Conner’s 12 rebounds in this game added yet another dynamic to his versatility on the floor.

“I just have to keep playing my game,” Conner said when asked about his mindset entering the postseason. “I have to hustle for the team with a greater purpose.” 

Finishing the regular season with a record of 10-4, Rangerball has now won four consecutive games. FHC now looks to the first round of districts on Tuesday, March 24th in a rematch from last season’s playoffs against Navy basketball commit Sam Krist and the highly-touted Rockford Rams.