Rangerball is locked in for the upcoming season


After a surprise playoff run to cap off last season, head coach Kyle Carhart and the boys varsity basketball team has re-grouped and reloaded following the loss of eight seniors. 

It starts from the top, with talented now-seniors Conner Milton, Jacob Bonnett, and Ben Scholler returning to the squad after seeing significant time in 2020. The Class of 2022 is rounded out by fellow seniors Pierson VanGorp, Joe Seurynck, and Colten Jenkins, all of whom hope to contribute notably this winter. 

“This senior group is smaller than last year, but they’ve had a lot of success in the past,” coach Carhart said. “For us to be the best version of ourselves, our seniors will definitely have to lead us.”

Senior Conner Milton is looking to blossom into an all-state player in 2021-2022.

These returning seniors had the tremendous opportunity to witness a magical postseason just a year ago. After finishing the regular season with a solid 10-4 record, FHC faced a trio of marquee matchups in March. 

The Rangers traveled to Rockford for the playoffs’ opening round to face the two-seeded and heavily favored Rams. The boys capitalized on the capacity for an upset, as the Rangers toppled Rockford by a point in the final seconds and danced their way to the district semifinal. 

Just 48 hours later, coach Carhart and his squad found it in themselves to beat Northview for the third time in one year; however, they ran in a brick wall in the district finals. A close defeat to Forest Hills Northern marked the end of the season, but also showcased FHC’s incredibly bright future. 

The Ranger faithful supports the boys in the district finals.

“It’s a one-game season, one-game mindset,” coach Carhart said. “[The playoff run] was a special thing to experience for our returning seniors. But, truth be told, my time spent in coaching has taught me that you simply have to play and prepare very well in order to advance.” 

To add to FHC’s momentum heading into this season, Carhart’s junior class holds serious promise.

 Varsity pull-ups for last year’s playoffs include Levi McKenzie, Jake Koning, and Nate Delaney; nonetheless, fellow juniors Sam Sneider and Raymond Cargill have the unique opportunity to progress within the system and work their way up the depth chart. It will likely be a senior-heavy rotation this winter, but the magnitude of energy provided by the younger guys will undoubtedly play a hefty role in the Rangers’ success.

“I’m excited to play on this Rangerball team,” Jake Koning claimed. “I really like my teammates and I think we have the chance to be really, really good.”

Rangerball has also been gifted sophomore Jonas VanderWoude–a transfer from Grand Rapids Christian. Similar to past players such as Mitch Wilkinson, Jimmy Scholler, and Connor Kelly, Jonas looks to make an imprint for the Rangers as the only true underclassman on the squad. 

“Rangerball means family to me,” Jonas said. “I am going to give everything I have every day and also succeed and fail with my team.”

Although the OK White may not have the state championship-contending teams that it did last year, FHC can not afford to overlook any conference opponent. The Northview Wildcats and East Grand Rapids Pioneers are extremely hungry for an OK White title; yet, the Rangers will control their own destiny throughout the season.

“We don’t want to look ahead too much, but there’s always the games that naturally stand out,” coach Carhart said. “Obviously Forest Hills Northern, Northview, East Grand Rapids–that’s the good thing about being in our conference, there’s no ‘off-night’ and we have to come out ready to play regardless of the opponent.”

As the season gears up to begin in just one week, Rangerball is grinding on a daily basis. On Friday, December 10, FHC will open the long-awaited season with a matchup at home with Forest Hills Eastern. 

When asked about the team’s most anticipated game, coach Carhart’s response was simple.

“The first game, then the next game, then the next,” Carhart said. “It’s a long haul and we preach to the team the importance of going 1-0 every game.”