Boys varsity basketball handles Northview 56-49 and advances to the district finals


After a state-renowned upset against Rockford, the boys varsity basketball team squared off against Northview for the second round of districts. Having previously beaten the Wildcats twice, a third matchup against FHC’s conference foe was jam-packed with intensity. Continuing their memorable playoff run, the Rangers executed at a high level and escaped with a 56-49 victory. 

Similar to Tuesday’s game against Rockford, Rangerball fell victim early to phenomenal offense from Northview. Junior phenom Kyler Vanderjagt got the Wildcats in a groove, scoring several buckets in the opening minutes. Just as it has done all season, this Rangerball team stayed in the fight. Junior Jacob Bonnett put FHC on the scoreboard with a three-pointer, followed by two more triples from senior Jonah Spates. After senior Dallas Hopson drew a goaltending call on a fastbreak, the Rangers closed out the quarter trailing by just two points.

The main story of the first half for FHC was the three-ball. Jacob Bonnett nailed one from the corner, which he followed with a bucket in transition. Junior Ben Scholler joined the scoring column, converting on a layup with an impressive Euro step. Down by five with 2:30 remaining in the half, Rangerball would go on a 7-0 scoring run capped off by an acrobatic, buzzer-beating three from Spates. FHC flipped the first-quarter deficit to enter the locker room up by two points. 

“I thought that our guys seemed a little tighter in the first half of the game. There were some areas where we have been better in our execution,” head coach Kyle Carhart claimed. “Similiar to Tuesday though, as soon as we cut it loose, started playing harder, and worried less, we improved.” 

With one half remaining to keep its season alive, Rangerball turned to Jacob Bonnett once again. The junior splashed another three shortly after driving the ball to the rim and scoring, putting FHC up by three. Senior Jacob Ervin continued his solid postseason play, coming up with two huge baskets in the post. To wrap up the third quarter, Bonnett cashed in on an opportunity at the rim. This surge lifted the Ranger lead to 42-32. Bonnett’s incredible scoring effort throughout the game gave FHC a large helping hand. 

“The most important thing to me is just having confidence and believing every shot is going to go in,” Jacob spoke following the game. “Giving 100 percent effort the entire game allowed me to get good shots and help the team win in a very important game.”

Retaliating quickly, the Wildcats quickly diminished their deficit to just three with a 7-0 run to begin the fourth quarter. In need of a confidence booster, the senior leaders took the game into their own hands. Peyton Bush swished a pretty jumper which was succeeded by another triple from Jonah Spates and a monstrous dunk by Jacob Ervin. With the clock winding down, the Northview Wildcats put up a valiant effort but were ultimately outlasted by this Ranger squad. FHC celebrated its way off of the court, enjoying the sweet taste of the 56-49 triumph.

A whopping 20-point night for junior Jacob Bonnett gave Rangerball a massive lift, complimented by 15 points from senior Jonah Spates on over 70 percent shooting. Clinching a birth in the district finals, the win for FHC proved to be a truly memorable moment in program history. 

“Not a lot of people outside of our program thought this team would be in this position this week or even this season, but the important thing is that our guys always believed,” coach Carhart said proudly. “This is a team that will be referenced regularly due to their togetherness, grit, fight, and determination. I’ve learned a lot from them and I’m just excited that they will be doubted again on Saturday.” 

In a fight for a spot in the regional tournament, the Rangers head back to Northview High School to take on the Huskies of Forest Hills Northern on Saturday at 7:00 PM.