Boys varsity basketball preview: Ottawa Hills Bengals


The boys varsity basketball team enters its Friday matchup with Ottawa Hills on the heels of a nail-biting win over Lowell. The Rangers avoided a near collapse to hang on and beat Lowell 56-55. That win improved the Rangers’ record to 10-5 on the season and 5-3 in the OK White conference. Ottawa Hills enters at 1-13 and 1-7 in the OK White.

The lone win for the Bengals came over Cedar Springs by 15, who returned the favor Tuesday night when the Red Hawks hit a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer to knock off Ottawa Hills. The Bengals’ 1-13 record is very deceiving, as they have played hard with many teams, including the Rangers.

In the first matchup between these teams, the Rangers were lucky to come away with a 2-point win. Ottawa Hills was able to speed up the Rangers and force them into turning the ball over 26 times. That number came out to roughly 38% of all FHC possessions.

Ottawa Hills’ dynamic trio of Santana Phillips, Damien Cochran, and Larry Phillips helped to force the majority of those turnovers and score 40 of the Bengals’ points. After a three from junior Mitch Wilkinson gave the Rangers a 2-point lead, the Bengals had one last chance. Larry Phillips was able to get by his defender and had an open lane for a basket. But Ranger senior forward Jake Ball was waiting for him and blocked his shot at the buzzer to seal the win for the Rangers. 

Recently, senior forward Dan Deindorfer has been a force down low for the Rangers. Dan has scored at least 15 points or grabbed 6 rebounds in nine of his last ten games. That includes a 31-point career-high performance on Monday in the loss to Northview. Look for the Rangers to prioritize getting Dan the ball down low for easy buckets early and often on Friday night.

FHC will need to get more out of its role players in this game. In the last game against Ottawa Hills, the trio of Dan, Mitch, and junior guard Jimmy Scholler combined for 52 of the Rangers’ 56 points. If Jake, senior guard Josh Wise, as well as the players off the bench can combine to score 15 points or more, FHC will have a great chance to move to 11-5.