Freshman boys basketball stuggles to take care of business in East Kentwood

Freshman boys basketball stuggles to take care of business in East Kentwood

Ali Czarnecki, Sports Reporter

The freshman boys basketball team kicked off their season with a tough 20 point loss. On Thursday, the boys had their opener against a dominant opponent in the East Kentwood Falcons and fell 63-43. The Rangers still managed to put up a solid fight during the first quarter where they led by small margins a couple different times.

Throughout the game, FHC shot very well on the perimeter, knocking down six straight three-pointers. The Rangers found a majority of their points coming from beyond the arc. As the team came out forceful in the first half, freshman Maguire Mahacek was big underneath the basket for FHC, with four boards to create numerous scoring chances

“Throughout the game the teamwork was just great,” Maguire said. “We got open looks and our togetherness was exceptional. We played very well in the first half and had some struggles in the second but we stuck together as a team which is the most important part.”

Alongside of Maguire was freshman Jason Downey who grinded on the defensive side of the court. Having several rebounds as well, Jason presented a huge struggle to East Kentwood’s offense.

“With it being our first game, I thought we played pretty well,” said Jason, who scored two points during the game. “EK is most likely one of the best teams we will play. Having it be East Kentwood’s second game and our first, I thought we put up a pretty good fight until the second half. That is where things fell out of place and we started getting sloppy and tired.”

Coach Kevin Banner learned a lot about this young team in their matchup against the Falcons for the first game of the season. Banner thought the team competed hard and set a great foundation to build off of as they move deeper into the season. With excellent shooting and pressure for the most part, Banner was pleased.

“We struggled to execute in the half court versus their pressure. That’s on me, however, and something we will start spending more time on in practice,” said Banner, who has been the freshman coach for seven years now. “We also left too many points off the scoreboard. Too many missed finishes and free throws were costly. Our defensive effort and importance was a strength. We stopped the drive, rebounded and protected the rim. Those were all pluses.”

As winning is very important to this team, Banner plans to focus in on the struggles, post defense, defending the ball pick and communication with upcoming practices. They will also strive to master the fundamentals, like half court execution and offense.

“We need to work on our passing,” Jason said. “They stole a lot of our passes and we need to make them better. It was our first game against one of the best teams we will play, and we made careless plays. We didn’t execute as well as we should have and I think that had a major role in how we performed.”

Looking ahead, the team will be taking on Traverse City Central on Saturday. The hopes are to fix the early mistakes made in game number one. Banner believes that the Traverse City trip will be a huge help to their season.

“The Traverse City trip is always a highlight of the season and just an awesome program experience,” Banner said. “It is such a big day for team bonding, but the coolest part of the trip is the program unity and how it brings all levels closer together.”

Maguire, Jason and the team are enthusiastic for Traverse City. They think that it will be fantastic way for the team to bond and create better connections to their teammates. They assume that a new matchup is what will end up aiding the team.

The loss against East Kentwood is only motivation for this team. They wish to win as many games as possible and are looking to win a conference championship. The boys are not done showing what they have in store for the rest of the season.

“Developing the habits it requires and level at which you must work to be successful, not just this year but throughout their high school careers and beyond,” Banner said. “We talk about how we want to push and exceed our limits. That our best is only our best today, that there’s always room to improve. It’s important that we continue to grow each day, individually and as a team.”