Boys varsity basketball preview: Forest Hills Northern Huskies

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Boys varsity basketball preview: Forest Hills Northern Huskies

The boys varsity basketball team enters its biggest game of the season to date riding a three-game conference winning streak. After a tough loss to Northview, the Rangers have played great defense against their last three opponents, not letting any of them score above 54 points. The toughest test of the season for the Rangers awaits Tuesday night, when they will travel to take on their cross-town arch-rival, the undefeated Forest Hills Northern Huskies.

The Huskies come in as the consensus number-one team in the West Michigan area with a 12-0 record. The Huskies have defeated two of the three teams that the Rangers have lost to, as they opened the season with an impressive road victory over East Kentwood and beat Grandville by 30 points a little later on. One of Northern’s most impressive wins was when they blew out previously undefeated Hudsonville by 25 points. Last Friday, the Huskies had another impressive win when they went on the road and defeated Holland Christian, also one of the best teams in the area, by 12 points.

The Huskies are led by a phenomenal backcourt. Seniors Trent Summerfield, Brandon Matthews, and Drew Moore, along with sophomores Trinidad Chambliss and Ethan Erickson, form arguably the deepest and best backcourt in the area. Trent Summerfield and Ethan Erickson are two of the best shooters in the area and can both earn 30 points on any given night. Brandon Matthews and Drew Moore are both very athletic and great defenders. The Huskies revolve around Ethan Erickson and Trent Summerfield, but their role players play a critical part in rebounding and setting screens to get the two shooters open.

The Rangers may have an advantage in the low post. FHN is a very athletic team, but the Huskies could have trouble defending senior big man Dan Deindorfer in the low post. Ottawa Hills put an athletic big on Dan, and he was able to get easy buckets in the low post and finish with 17 points. If the Huskies put an athletic big on Dan, look for the Rangers to try to feed him the ball in the post. 

The Ranger backcourt of juniors Jimmy Scholler and Mitch Wilkinson, along with senior Josh Wise, will have its hands full against the Huskies. FHN’s Drew Moore is one of the areas best defenders, so look for the Huskies to have him guard Jimmy to shut him down. If he can do so, the Rangers will struggle, as Jimmy will not be able to get into the lane to make plays and dish the ball out to open teammates. If Jimmy is taken away, the Rangers will need Mitch and Josh to step up. Mitch hit the game-winning shot for the Rangers against Ottawa Hills and has been a big-time scorer recently. The Rangers will need to have a huge boost from both their bench and other starters that are not Jimmy, Dan, or Mitch. Against Ottawa Hills, those three combined for all but 4 of the Rangers’ points.

The biggest key to this game will be the Rangers’ ability to defend the three-point line. If they allow Ethan Erickson and Trent Summerfield to come free off of screens or find themselves with separation, the Rangers will have a tough game. If the Rangers deny the ability to catch the ball for both of Northern’s top shooters and make it tough to get a shot up, FHC has a chance in this rivalry matchup.

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