Boys varsity basketball beats Rockford 60-46, wins Cornerstone Holiday Tournament


En route to an impressive 60-46 win over a previously 5-1 Rockford team, juniors Jimmy Scholler and Mitch Wilkinson, along with senior Dan Deindorfer, dominated. The trio combined for 54 of the Rangers’ 60 points, 22 rebounds, 8 assists, and 7 blocks on the night.

“Those three guys did it all for us tonight,” head coach Kyle Carhart said. “We needed big games out of all three of them, and they more than delivered tonight.”

The Rangers got off to a hot start with back-to-back three-pointers to jump out to a 6-0 lead, but the Rams crept back in it with good defense to make the score 11-10 with the Rangers on top after the first quarter. The Rams took a 12-11 lead early in the second, but that was the only time they’d lead all game.

The Rangers were able to play the passing lanes and force Rockford to take some very difficult shots that resulted in easy transition breakaways for the Rangers. Jimmy had 2 of his game-high 3 steals in the quarter that led to easy buckets for him. Jimmy scored 10 of his 25 points in the second quarter, as the Rangers started to assert their defensive dominance and led 27-21 at the break. 

“It was a big thing for us to get out to that kind of start,” Dan said. “We prepared for them all week and knew how good of a team they were. We just needed to execute and we did, which is great.”

The Rangers started out the second half on a mini 7-2 run that prompted a Rockford timeout. After a Jimmy three-pointer, the Rams were able to cut the lead to 4 points and seemingly seized all of the momentum. With five seconds left in the quarter, Mitch Wilkinson was able to nail a corner three-pointer that brought the Rams’ run to a screeching halt and put to rest any chance that Rockford had in the ball game.

“That shot was definitely key for us,” said Mitch, who took home the Tournament MVP award. “They were making a big run, just like we thought they would at some point because you can’t keep that good of a team down for that long. Making [the three] at the end of the quarter to go up 7 felt like we were really able to separate from them.”

An 8-0 run early in the quarter, with all 8 of the points coming from Mitch, put the lead at 54-39 for the Rangers.

“We expect that kind of play from Mitch,” Carhart said. “We’ve been pleading with him to become more and more aggressive, and in the last few games, he’s been great for us. I think that he can be even more aggressive, but he has really asserted himself lately and has stepped up big with the injuries we’ve been dealing with.”

Mitch in total had 11 points in the fourth quarter, and he, along with Jimmy and senior Jay Shields, went 8-8 from the free throw line down the stretch to seal the fate of the Rams. The Rangers were once again great from the free throw line all game, as they connected on 16 of their 19 attempts.

“Free throws have been big for us all year,” Carhart said. “We have some really good free throw shooters on the team that we have the utmost confidence in, and they’ve all stepped up and knocked down big free throws for us at some big moments.”

The Ranger defense was suffocating all night, as they were able to hold a very good shooting team to just 42% from the field and just 15% on three-point attempts. The Rangers improve to 4-2 and are back in action next Friday night when they travel to take on the Northview Wildcats to open up OK White conference play.

“We talked all week long about matching the physicality that they bring to the game,” Carhart said. “Kyle [Clough, Rockford head coach]  does an unbelievable job getting his guys ready to compete each night. I’m really proud of our big men in particular. I thought that Dan was great defensively and JB (Jake Ball) guarded their best player and battled for us all night long. I’m just so proud of our effort and execution tonight.”