Boys varsity basketball preview: Rockford Rams


The boys varsity basketball team enters its matchup in the Holiday Tournament championship against the Rockford Rams on the heels of a 70-59 semifinal win over Covenant Christian. The Rams defeated Godwin Heights by 7 in the other semi and hold an impressive 5-1 record on the early season.

Rockford has one of the most impressive wins in the early season, as they defeated the perennial powerhouse Muskegon by 18 points in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the score indicates. The Rams’ only loss of the season was to the number five team in the state, the Okemos Chiefs. Combined with the difficult nonconference schedule they have faced, the Rams play in the daunting OK Red conference, which includes the likes of East Kentwood and last year’s State runner-up in Class A, West Ottawa.

The Rams are one of the deepest and most balanced teams in the area, and it shows; they’ve had five different players lead the team in scoring in their six games. They have a tremendous backcourt that is led by sophomores Brennan Schueller and Sam Krist, as well as junior Andrew Carlson and senior Bennett Williams.

The matchup to watch will be between the Rams’ big front line and the Rangers’ senior center Dan Deindorfer. The Rockford front line is anchored by the 6’6 Nate Bareno in addition to a 6’6 senior in Ashton Pokorzynski and a 6’10 junior in Aidan Hieshetter. With all of that size, the Rangers will need to rebound the ball exceptionally well on Friday night to win. Senior forward and the Rangers’ best rebounder, Tate Hallock, will once again be out with a knee injury. Senior Jake Ball has really stepped up in Tate’s absence, and the Rangers will look for him to continue his rebounding against Rockford.   

Dan is coming off of his best game of the season, in which he posted a double-double last Friday against Covenant Christian. The Rangers will need another big game out of Dan to be able to beat the Rams. The Rangers will also be looking for sophomore center Jacob Ervin to provide big-time minutes so that Dan can get an occasional rest.

Junior point guard Jimmy Scholler will have his hands full in a key matchup with the Rams’ own in Brennan Schueller. They both are do-it-all guards who like to get in the lane and look for open shooters around the outside.

The key to this game will be the Rangers’ junior guard Mitch Wilkinson. He scored a career-high 26 in the semifinal win last week, and when hot, he is one of the best scorers in the area. In order to beat a very talented Rockford team, Mitch will need to have another stellar game.