Boys varsity basketball comes back to beat FHE 61-58


With forty seconds remaining and trailing by 2, 58-56, junior Mitch Wilkinson made the play of the night. After a Ranger turnover, Forest Hills Eastern was taking the ball out underneath the Rangers’ basket. With a full court press on, Mitch was guarding the inbound passer. Mitch stole the ball as the Hawks threw it in, spun under the basket, and found a cutting senior Jake Ball for a layup and a foul. The senior stepped up to the line and coolly knocked down the free throw to give the Rangers the lead for good at 59-58.

“Those are the kinds of plays that Mitch makes, we kind of expect those from him,” head coach Kyle Carhart sad. “Jake Ball had a tremendous finish on that play, and one of the things that will go very overlooked in that situation is that Jake stepped up and knocked the free throw down.”

The Hawks got off to a very hot start in the first half and led 22-17 after the first quarter. The Rangers were without two starters in seniors Josh Wise and Tate Hallock, and their absences were very evident in the first. The Rangers were plagued with foul trouble in the first half, as Mitch had 3 and senior Dan Deindorfer, as well as fellow big man sophomore Jacob Ervin, both had 2 personals, as the Hawks led 33-23 at the break. 

“We always seem to get down early in games, which is a bad habit for our team,” junior point guard Jimmy Scholler said. “I thought that without [Josh] Wise and Tate [Hallock] we really struggled in the first half. They bring great leadership, defense, and toughness and I thought that we really lacked that in the first half.”

Jimmy came out on fire in the second half, scoring 23 of his career-high 30 points in the final two quarters. Jimmy settled for a lot of contested jump shots in the first half, resulting in just 1 assist and 4 turnovers from him in the first. Jimmy came out with a whole new mindset in the second, as he drove to the basket a lot more, resulting in him shooting all 15 of his free throw attempts in the second half.

“He didn’t play his best basketball in the first half,” Carhart said, “but he did what we thought he would, he responded. He battled back [in the second half] and led the team and completely took over the game in the second half. He was a treat to watch down the stretch.”

With Jimmy and the rest of the Rangers coming out hot in the third quarter, the lead was cut to 3 for the Hawks at 42-39 when the fourth quarter started. The fourth was back and forth, and Jimmy was able to knock down a highly contested three with six minutes remaining to tie the game for the first time since it was 2-2 a minute into the ballgame.

With just over one minute remaining, Mitch made a backdoor cut and Jimmy threaded the needle with a pinpoint pass to him for the layup to give the Rangers the 54-53 lead. FHE’s Solomon White responded with a heavily contested three to put the Hawks right back up by 2. After Jimmy calmly knocked down two more free throws, the Hawks’ Nick Stoll made a layup to put the Hawks back up by 2. After a botched Ranger possession, the Hawks gained possession up 2 with forty seconds remaining. After Mitch’s incredible play, it was the unlikeliest of heroes who sealed the deal for the Rangers. Senior guard Tom Tomsheck, who had only appeared in one of the first three games in the early season, jumped the passing lane and made a crucial steal with 20 seconds left.

“I knew from watching film how they were going to try and get the guy I was guarding the ball,” Tom said. “I knew it was a risk to take, but I felt confident going for the ball, and I’m just glad that it worked out.”

With the two starters on the bench, Tom saw considerable playing time last night and made a large impact.

“Tom works incredibly hard,” Carhart said. “He never complains about playing time, all he knows is to hard work. He played outstanding defense all night, he got us huge stops, and I’m just so happy for him. He got his shot and played outstanding. I could not be prouder of Tom.”

Jimmy made two free throws to put the game on ice, and the Hawks’ last-second three-point attempt fell short. The Rangers were able to complete the comeback, winning 61-58.

The Rangers now move to 2-2 on the season and will be back in action next Friday night when they take on Covenant Christian at Cornerstone University.

“It was a huge win, definitely,” Jimmy said. “Being without two starters and still being able to win just gives us that much more confidence moving forward.”