Boys varsity basketball falls short in the district finals to FHN in 62-54 defeat


Heading into the district finals of the MHSAA playoffs, the boys varsity basketball team took on another daunting opponent in Forest Hills Northern. Attempting to beat the Huskies for the first time all season, Rangerball prepared for its largest-magnitude game since 2017. Despite a solid three-quarter attack, FHN’s shot-making ability down the stretch was too much for the Rangers to handle. A plus-eleven point fourth quarter did the trick for the Huskies, as Northern took home the district championship by a final of 62-54.

“Our main message was just making sure we were as sound and solid in the areas that we could control,” head coach Kyle Carhart claimed. “We wanted to make sure that we were mentally dialed in throughout the course of the game while also playing with great effort.” Playing in the first district title game in his young career, coach Carhart and his squad did everything they could to contain the brutal offensive onslaught from FHN.

The opening minutes saw much of what was expected, with shots being traded on both ends. The Huskies grabbed an early 7-2 advantage, which was ultimately erased with a three-pointer from junior Conner Milton and two big buckets inside for senior Jacob Ervin. The final 30 seconds, however, saw Northern convert on two consecutive possessions and snag a 15-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. 

After going down by six to begin the second quarter, senior Dallas Hopson took matters into his own hands. The senior guard went on an eight-point scoring spree, including two triples and a layup in transition. Managing to tie the game back up, Northern would not let the Rangers grab the upper hand. The final two minutes of the first half saw a total of four lead changes, as seniors Chris Battiste and Jonah Spates entered the scoring column. A 30-27 halftime lead for FHC was especially promising. In what seemed like the final battle between butting senior classes of bitter enemies, the remaining sixteen minutes would showcase the true beauty of such a rivalry. 

“It meant so much because we’ve been playing against these FHN guys for our entire basketball career, and it’s developed into a huge rivalry,” senior Matthew Mahoney said. “To see us seniors’ basketball career come together with a moment like that seemed like a perfect ending to a storied rivalry, had we won.” No matter the eventual outcome, the conclusion of this game marked the end of an era for all of the seniors. 

Picking up where it had left off, FHC continued to score the basketball. Senior Peyton Bush hit a smooth jumper, followed by buckets from Jonah Spates and Conner Milton. The third quarter continued to display the tidal wave series of events, with both teams trading baskets. Possessing a 43-40 lead to finish the fourth quarter, Rangerball had just eight minutes to close out the game.

Forest Hills Northern came out of the break with clear intentions to overtake the Rangers on the offensive end. The Huskies began to let the three-pointers fly, with two huge makes from senior Gavin Fisher. With Ferris State commit Ethan Erickson joining the surge, FHN quickly reversed the Ranger lead. Despite a Dallas Hopson basket to cut the deficit to three points, the Huskies’ firepower was unmatched. In just three minutes, the five-point advantage for Northern became an insurmountable 12. With the hope of an appearance at regionals slipping away, FHN dribbled out the remaining seconds to best the Rangers 62-54. 

Giving special thanks to the seniors, Rangerball’s efforts this season have been quite admirable. A 10-4 record, while impressive, does not truly encompass all of the accomplishments and memories. 

“This team has certainly left a lasting impact on me and this program. They faced an immense amount of adversity throughout an unbelievably challenging year,”  Carhart spoke postgame. “From schedule changes, safety protocols, challenging competition, this team answered the bell every day and every time. We asked a lot from them and they exceeded our expectations at every turn.”

While its season comes to an end, the achievements of this year’s boys varsity basketball team cannot be underestimated. A season such as this one proves that the Rangerball tradition will continue for years to come.