Girls varsity basketball wins big on Senior Night 72-29


Seniors Claire Baguley, Danielle Balanda, Charlotte Delaney, and Kaitlyn Piontkowsky exited their home court with one minute remaining in the game surrounded by applause. FHC dominated in the seniors’ special game to beat Ottawa Hills 72-29.

All four seniors on the team were able to start together, a tradition for the girls basketball program on Senior Night. While most of them are usually role players off the bench, they played a solid first rotation and only allowed 2 points from the Bengals.

“It was so nice [to start all the seniors],” head coach Kristina Prins said. “The girls came out and they had a great start to the game, which I feel like really started the momentum of the night.”

Claire and freshman Theryn Hallock were joined by the three other usual starters three minutes into the first quarter, after which the Rangers went on a 13-2 scoring run. Claire, the leading scorer on the night, earned 8 of her 23 points in the first. FHC led 16-4 over a struggling Ottawa Hills offense after the first. 

The Rangers’ defense was nearly suffocating through the first two quarters with a combination of man and zone. The Bengals found themselves in the bonus early into the second quarter and FHC capitalized; Claire led the 86% team free throw average on the night by going perfect from the line.

Ottawa Hills, with considerable size down low, came up with many offensive rebounds that allowed for multiple shots on offense. The Bengals simply couldn’t find the bottom of the net and were extremely cold offensively all night. The Rangers played an all-around dominant first half to lead 36-16 at the break.

After earning two fouls early, Theryn came back nearly unstoppable. This freshman posted a career-high 22 points and was stellar in all aspects of the game. She finished with 4 rebounds, a team-high 7 assists, and a team-high 6 steals. Her 20th point—to break her previous scoring record of 19—came off of none other than a steal and breakaway layup in the fourth quarter.

“It’s awesome [to reach a new career-high],” Theryn said. “I’ve put the work in in the gym, and I keep getting better shot selections every game. In my opinion, I had one of my best defensive games and offensively I passed really well in transition. I felt like I was very coachable today.”

The Rangers came out of the locker room with continued offensive production to go on a 13-0 run led by Theryn’s 8 points in the quarter, and Ottawa Hills couldn’t find a way to score until there was 1:50 remaining in the third. FHC completely dominated in their traditionally weakest quarter and outscored the Bengals 15-4 to lead 51-20 after three.

“Our defense was really awesome, and I think we did a good job of not only playing good defense in the first half but continuing that on into the second half,” said Claire, who also grabbed 7 rebounds, had 2 assists and earned 1 steal on the night. “A lot of times we let up [defensively after half time,] so it was good that we played consistently and had solid defense; we were able to get a lot of points out of that.”

FHC’s defense remained relentless, as Theryn earned 3 steals in a matter of minutes in the fourth quarter. In back-to-back Ottawa Hills possessions, Theryn stole the ball and assisted sophomore Zoe Lipke on wide-open layups up the court. After returning from a knee injury a couple weeks ago, Zoe has been a spark for the Rangers; she finished with an impressive final stat line of 8 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.

As the seniors symbolically left the floor with a minute remaining, the young future of the basketball program kept the energy high and slammed the door on the Bengals to win in grand fashion 72-29 with FHC’s largest point total all season.

“No matter who played, the seniors or people who came off the bench, we all had the intensity and the grit to play,” Theryn said.

Charlotte and Kaitlyn were valuable as role players with 4 points apiece on their celebrated night. Charlotte also grabbed a rebound, while Kaitlyn earned 4 rebounds and a steal.

“[The seniors] did so well, they busted their butts,” Prins said. “They’ve been such spirit leaders from the bench, so it was nice to have them come out on the floor and see some intensity. They’re going to leave a big mark and big shoes to fill, but we’re lucky that we have some really good girls coming up.

The Lady Rangers improve to 10-4 (5-2) with this third win in a row and face a challenge next week with three tough conference games; however, FHC is playing some of its best basketball late in the season and could still make a run at the conference title if the Lady Rangers win out.

“I think if we play how we did tonight and play with that kind of intensity that we know how to, playing three games next week won’t be an issue,” Claire said.

For all four seniors, this marks the near end of an era in high school basketball; the class of 2019 was able to finish its basketball career on FHC’s home court on a high note.

Class of 2019 varsity basketball players: (L-R) Claire Baguley, Danielle Balanda, Kaitlyn Piontkowsky, Charlotte Delaney

“It feels good to have a good game on such an important night to me,” said Claire, a four-year varsity player. “I’ve learned a lot from every single coach and teammate I’ve had. Each year has been different but good in its own way, and I’m really thankful for everything this program has taught me.”