Boys varsity basketball completed the season sweep of the Lowell Red Arrows 66-44 and won its fourth conference championship in the last five years. The past two years, FHC has come into Lowell and taken the OK white in the Red Arrows home gym.
“All we talk about all year is trying to be the best team in our league,” head coach Ken George said. “We try to be the best for three months. I’m just so honored to have some of our guys go back to back and have our program win four out of the last five. For us to come back this year after winning it last year while everyone shoots for us, I think it says a lot about our program.”
For the senior class, it was made very clear very early that this team was going to be a conference championship caliber team. From their preseason meetings at Camp Geneva, it was their goal.
“At the beginning of the year, we were sitting in Geneva and talking about goals for the year,” senior captain Ryan Dunn said. “A lot of us were talking about the playoffs and what we wanted to do, but Coach Lowe made it very clear that his goal was a conference championship. For three months you have to win at home, and you have to be able to go on the road and beat teams.”
It was a slower start than FHC would’ve hoped for in their tenth conference outing, as they found themselves down by as many as 10 at the end of the first. The Red Arrows came out in an effective zone defense and FHC struggled to get to the lane and kick.
“They punched us in the face hard and they were great,” George said. ” I give them a ton of credit. It was a scary danger zone for a couple minutes there as we’re down 8, their ball. If they go hit a couple more big shots after that, it just becomes really scary.”
Senior Andrew Tebeau hit a big shot at the end of the half to give FHC the lead back and sent them into the locker room up by two 31-29. The Ranger offense outscored Lowell 23-11 in the second quarter alone.
From there it was an explosion of offense from senior Ty George, along with numerous assists from sophomore Jimmy Scholler, and huge defensive plays by senior Ryan Dunn.
Ty came into the second half with 4 total points and no success from beyond the arc in the early minutes. In the third, he became the threat he has been all year and hit four times from three-point land.
“We talked about how we weren’t aggressive enough in the first half and that we had a couple open looks,” said Ty, who finished with 24 points. “We just didn’t have enough aggressiveness early on. Last year in this same position, I had four at the half and I finished with 21. I just had to get it going. Once we started to turn them over and we started kicking it out, I feel like defense turned into my offense.”
Jimmy and Ryan didn’t put up huge numbers in the points column, but had enormous nights in the rebounds, assists, blocks and steals columns. Jimmy had 6 steals that led to numerous fast-break assists at the top of the Rangers press. He also had a couple kick out passes that led to buckets from downtown.
Ryan had another block party, finishing with 5 blocks and 4 steals. He added 6 assists and 8 boards that made it impossible for the Red Arrows to establish a consistent paint presence.
The Rangers now look on their last three games of the season against the Ottawa Hills Bengals, the FHN Huskies, and the Grand Haven Pioneers. They have the opportunity to sweep the rest of the conference and take home 18 wins.
“Our guys are dedicated and committed and this means everything to me,” George said. “My whole adult life has been about coaching and giving kids great experiences. And I think what they did tonight is something they’ll sit and talk about someday.”