A look back at the special run made by FHC basketball


Before the Rangers could give us some of their best basketball of the season, there was a meeting at half court. Prior to the Rangers putting together a storied finish, including an emotional win at home against rival FHN, a last second win on senior night against Ottawa Hills, an incredible conference title victory, and two of the most emotional and energy filled games of the season in the district tournament, there was a conversation.

After a loss to Wyoming, the Rangers sat at 7-6. They were in the middle of the pack with a conference record of 3-3. All conference senior captain Sal Sidebotham knew the decision a struggling team was posed with.

“We always believed we were going to accomplish big things from the beginning,” Sal said. “It was a ten guy versus the world mentality. We had the talk at half court, and you could feel the energy the next day in practice. From then on, we never looked back.”

The Rangers next performance was their home series finale between FHC and FHN. FHC came out full of enthusiasm and played convincingly dominant in their final regular season meeting between the two sides. From then on, they never looked back.

After huge wins against Northview and Greenville, scoring a combined total of 145 points, FHC put themselves in an outstanding position to go and fight for a conference title.

FHC then came out and beat a struggling Cedar Springs team in a much needed conference match up, putting their conference record at 7-3. Ottawa Hills was next on the schedule. With tensions high from past match ups, and an emotional filled senior night, the scene was setting for a rivalry caliber game.

After an emotional four quarters, Sal capped off the night with a made free-throw as time expired. The team flooded the court and celebrated the win and a shot at a conference title.

Lowell was on the clock.

After dropping the first meeting of the year, and a toss loss in last year’s district final, the Rangers went to Lowell to play for the conference title. In yet another court-storming game, the Rangers came away with yet another W. After FHC was projected to finish at the bottom of the table, a title was all too sweet.

Finally it was district time. With an outstanding finish to the regular season of 6-1, the momentum was swung in the Ranger’s direction. An OK Red conference opponent loomed ahead in the Rockford Rams.

After falling down early, the Rangers played comeback throughout the entire first half. FHC eventually took their first lead in the third. With a myriad of key plays from Sal and co-captain Jack Uecker, the Rangers came together for a huge win over Rockford, in enemy territory.

After FHN won against Cedar 45-42, the Rangers were challenged with another match up against the cross district rival. Going down 12-2 in the first quarter, the Rangers played from behind. The catch-up basketball that FHC was having to play took a toll on the Rangers.

“We fought and fought and came within a play,” said West Michigan head coach of the year Ken George. “Several games have come down to the last play within the last month, and we’ve made them or they’ve gone our way. We just couldn’t get over this last hump.”

After coming all the way back to tie it, the Rangers had new life in the fourth quarter; however, the Huskies had too many bounces and lucky shots to take the Rangers just out of reach of a win. The heartbreaking loss, 53-52, abruptly ended the Rangers season at 14-8.

Throughout the year, despite the short playoff run, the Rangers gave the school numerous things to flood the court over. With all conference players Sal and Ty, honorable mentions in Ryan Dunn and Daniel Deindorfer, a playoff win and extensive big wins at the big moments made this basketball team special.

“We had a serious gut check and decided we were going to be a team that battled and didn’t roll over,” said all conference junior Ty George. “We knew we couldn’t blame stuff on each other and started to lean on one another instead. It’s a credit to our seniors for keeping us together and giving us the success we had.”