Boys JV basketball goes 1-1 against FHN and Lowell to end the season

Tommy Spaletto

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Sophomore Chris Battiste’s enormous 34 combined points over the course of two games helped the boys JV basketball team go 1-1 over the course of the last two games of the season. The Rangers fell in a heartbreaker to the Forest Hills Northern Huskies but had a huge bounce-back win the very next day against the Lowell Red Arrows.

Along with Chris, other big scorers from the past two games were sophomore Jeremy James with 19 and sophomore Jonah Spates with 18. The team will finish third in the conference behind FHN and Northview.

“My mindset was just to be aggressive and get open looks for my teammates, “ Chris said.

Against the Huskies, both teams started out great defensively, forcing each other into some turnovers and trying to speed the pace up. FHN was able to use a distinct size advantage to get the ball in the post and score many high-percentage shots towards the beginning of the game.

FHC was able to do that themselves later in the half by feeding it to Chris and sophomore Matthew Mahoney, who scored a season-high 10 points. A technical foul on the Rangers hurt FHC’s momentum to close the half, as the Huskies went on to outscore them 13-6 to close the second quarter.

“At halftime, we talked about how we need to come out strong,“ Chris said. “We were really motivated, and I think that’s why we had a big run at the beginning.“

FHC started the second half just the way it needed to, going on a quick 8-0 run to surprise FHN and cut it to a 4-point deficit. The Huskies continued to feed the ball down low and continued to get to the line where they would get the majority of their points. Their other points in the second half were three-pointers, one of them hurting the Rangers badly; with six seconds left, FHN center Danny Gutierrez made a three-point shot that would send the game to overtime.

FHC started out hot in overtime, with Chris and fellow sophomore George Hatchett getting some early layups in transition. But FHN continued to feed the ball inside to their big men, who combined for nearly 25 points. Just when you thought one wasn’t enough, Danny Gutierrez again made a fadeaway three-point shot with time running out. FHC had an opportunity to tie the game back up with three free throws but missed the second shot, and the Rangers fell 66-64.

“It as a bittersweet ending,“ said Jonah, who finished with three three-pointers against FHN. “We had worked our tail off all year, including that game, but it just didn’t fall our way.“

The next day, FHC would look to shake off its tough loss to their arch-rival and finish the season strong against the Lowell Red Arrows. The Rangers threw out a new starting five to throw Lowell off its game. Sophomore Carson Mocherman was very productive for FHC, getting a lot of offensive rebounds and getting to the free throw line. He was the second-leading scorer with 11 only behind Chris Battiste with 12. Sophomore Isaac Ghareeb also had some good minutes, helping FHC rebound and knocking down a couple of jump shots.

The Rangers struggled to get going in the first few moments defensively, but once they finally got their groove, the lockdown defense translated to great offense. Sophomore Dawsen Beach helped push the ball down the floor and find teammates such as sophomores Cam David and Maguire Mahacek for open looks.

FHC finished the quarter down 14-13 and subbed in a new five to start the second quarter. Chris and Jeremy James helped FHC go on a quick 10-0 run to kill the Red Arrows’ momentum. Head coach Gordon Shield would then sub back in his starting five to finish the quarter, and the Rangers went into the half up by 14.

The second half was a lot like the first. The original starting five played the entire third quarter and went on a little run to end the quarter. In the fourth, the same new five that played in the second quarter came in, built even more on a lead, and the Ranger starters finished the game to end the season with a win. 

“It was a great way to end the season,“ Jeremy said, “and knowing before the game that we had a chance to be co-conference champs made us play harder. It was cool to have everyone play and almost everyone score with it being our last game. “

With a win and a loss, FHC finishes the season 7-3 in the OK White conference and 10-7 overall. There is a lot of young talent on this team, and the future definitely looks bright for Rangerball in the coming years.

“Even though I feel like the season started out rough, “ Jeremy said, “once we adjusted, figured how to score, and play defense together, we started to get better and better each game.“