Rangerball Season Preview

On the brink of the 2016-2017 season in a new conference, the boys basketball team gets ready to get to work and prove people wrong.


Just like the Ranger football team, head coach Ken George and the boys basketball team now sit overlooking a new OK White conference.  It is an exciting change for the veteran coach and the 2016 Rangerball squad. With a new conference comes FHN. This rivalry will surely reignite a fire between the two on the court. For some, this basketball season is a first taste of varsity ball and a new intensity that has yet to be experienced. For others, like senior forward John Fuller, the season is all about getting back to work.

“Regardless of our schedule changes for this year, we’ll be playing with the same strategy and mindset as last year,” John said. “I’m very excited for this season; it should be a true test of adversity. My expectations are nothing less than to prove everyone wrong and make FHC proud.”

This year’s Rangerball team is a different type of squad compared to what George had to work with last season. The Rangers are without former senior Connor Kelly, a superstar who controlled the court as a guard. Now, the roster is filled with players, young and old, who all have unique skill sets. George remarked on how excited he is to work with his new team.

“I don’t think we’ll have that feeling where one player has the ball as much,” George said. “I think what we have are guys who are really good at what they do and trust each other. That’s what we’re trying to build. Jack Uecker is an incredible on-the-ball defender and can also attack the rim. John Fuller is a really good spot-up shooter and a really active defender. Ty George is a great open shooter. Andrew Tebeau is a really good athlete with a really good pull-up jump shot. I could go through all ten guys. If we can get each guy to do the things that they’re great at, then we are potentially more dangerous than we were last year.”

Seniors Jack Uecker and Sal Sidebotham were big parts of the football team’s success and will look to impact things on the hardwood, as well. The veteran coach touched on how the success of the football team might carry over to the basketball season.

“I’m really excited about this group,” George said, “On the heels of a successful football season, I’m looking to have a successful basketball season too. There’s just something about winning. I think it’s a little bit contagious, and I think when you feel [the success of the football team] there’s a certain momentum that is built by that. Did it put Sal and Jack a little bit behind initially with trying to get back into basketball shape? Absolutely. But I think long term it’s a huge benefit.”

The Rangers have been playing well so far in their first few scrimmages, winning handily in all three against the likes of Gull Lake, Northpointe Christian, and Charlotte. The real competition, however, awaits them in the regular season. The Rangers will open things up at East Kentwood this Friday before traveling to Traverse City Central on Saturday. A big win in the first game of the season would give this team a huge boost of confidence to kick things off.

Junior guard Ty George recognized that this year’s team is not about having one explosive superstar but about coming together and being stronger as a unit.

We talk a lot about collective responsibility and how we all have our own roles,” Ty said.  “A lot of people can do different things well, so it’s kind of about everybody coming together and knowing that we have the right ten guys game in and game out. I think we’re gonna have a good year.”

For George, he is excited about the new conference change. It provides new competition and opens things up for him and the Ranger team to set new standards and expectations for the conference. The team has a chance to fly under the radar and become a major contender.

As a coach, all 23 teams have been different,” George said. “The most fascinating and motivating thing for me is figuring out how we can make this team better. What can we do with this group to mold them into a championship caliber team and also give all of the kids great experiences.”