The boys varsity basketball team enters its biggest game of the season against the Northview Wildcats up until this point with a record of 4-2 in OK White conference play. The Rangers are still in striking distance of first-place Forest Hills Northern (9-0) and the second-place Wildcats (6-1). A win over the Wildcats would put the Rangers in a tie for second place in the conference and keep their conference title hopes alive. A loss would all but end FHC’s quest at a third-straight OK White conference championship.
The Wildcats handed the Rangers one of their two conference losses when their junior guard Avarie Simpson hit a game-winning layup with seven seconds left to beat FHC 57-56. The Wildcats’ only loss of the conference was to the first-place FHN Huskies.
In the first meeting between these teams, the Wildcats came out fast, leading the Rangers 20-10 after the first quarter. FHC will need to start better in this matchup if they want to avenge their loss.
Northview senior forward Ryan Castle had a career night in the first game between the two teams. He came in averaging 5 points and 4 rebounds a game and finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Ryan Castle dominated the Rangers down low, scoring easy buckets and securing 5 offensive rebounds to give the Wildcats extra possessions. Castle also made three three-pointers and blocked two shots. The Rangers will need the frontcourt of seniors Dan Deindorfer, Jake Ball, and Tate Hallock to defend Castle well, in addition to the rest of the Northview front court, to win.
A big key to this game for the Rangers is their health. In the first game against Northview, seniors Tate Hallock and Josh Wise were still recovering from their respective injuries. Although Tate played, he did so sparingly, as it was his first game back from the injury. With both him and Josh back in the lineup, the Rangers get back two of their best defenders.
The biggest key to the game for the Rangers will be their depth. In the last three games, FHC has averaged 17 points per game from its bench. In the prior three games, the bench only scored 6 points. If the Rangers can get at least 10 points from their bench that consists of Tate, fellow seniors Jay Shields and Tom Tomsheck and sophomore Jacob Ervin, they will have a good chance of moving into a tie for second place in the OK White.