Boys freshman basketball fights through adversity all season to finish 15-2

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Boys freshman basketball fights through adversity all season to finish 15-2

The boys freshman basketball team capped off its season with a conference championship and finished 15-2 overall and 10-0 in the OK White. The Rangers had a slow start, winning only one out of their first three games, but they quickly turned that around.

The team was able to cruise through non-conference play while losing only two games. The first-year coaching duo of head coach Adam Monroe and assistant Matt Ellis led the boys to a season no one saw coming.

“We wouldn’t have had the success we did this year without Coach Ellis,” Monroe said. “He was the best fit for not only myself but the team as well. You can’t find a better coach to have with you, and I’m really thankful that I was able to work with him this season.”

The Rangers started off with two very difficult back-to-back games against East Kentwood and Traverse City Central. They lost the first game of the season to East Kentwood, then went up to Traverse City the next day to bring back the win. The next week, they found their second and only other loss of the season against the Bulldogs of Grandville.

“We had high expectations coming into the season,” freshman Pierson Van Gorp said. “When we started off 1-2, some people were shocked, especially considering our talent.”

Every practice throughout the season focused on one central idea: defense. This is what the team preached the whole year, and it was clear to see why. After the Rangers struggled through the non-conference games, they began the more important and much more difficult matchups against teams in the OK White. This key idea became crucial and gave them the upper hand in every single game. One defensive stop would create an easy bucket on the other end of the floor, making the opponents frustrated and even forcing them to call a timeout.

“To say it simply, this season was an amazing season with the best teammates I could have asked for,” freshman player Jacob Bonnett said. “We all stuck together and played as a team through each game, shutting it down on the defensive end and getting the results we wanted. Overall, this was a season I will never forget.”

The conference was full of tough teams that challenged the Rangers every step of the way. One stand-out opponent that FHC struggled against was the first game against the Bengals of Ottawa Hills. Although the Rangers ended up defeating them 79-66, this was a team they were worried about all season. If any team in the conference could match the Rangers’ intensity and skill level, it was the Bengals. With a very athletic lineup and fast-paced plays, Ottawa Hills was able to stun the Rangers early. After a quick swing of momentum, however, FHC was able to pull away with the win. The second time through, the Rangers knew the opponent’s game plan and crushed them by more than 20 points.

The Rangers were so dominant that they managed to keep teams to single-digit scoring in a single half. This was true for Lowell and Forest Hills Northern the first time around. The Rangers drained their opponents’ spirit early whenever this happened; however, the second run of conference play was a little bit different. They still beat Lowell by more than 30 but only beat Northern by 11. This was a very hard game for FHC, for it was the second-to-last game, and a season sweep over Forest Hills teams was on the line.

As for the players, all 14 guys on and off the bench played a key part in the success of this young team. Whether it was cheering on a teammate, scoring some points, creating a turnover, or just making their teammates better basketball players, every single guy helped out this season. On the court, Bonnett was a key part to the team’s success this season, as he was the top scorer. Along with Jacob was freshman Benny Scholler, who was a very strong defender.

“On a leadership aspect, we are going to miss guys like Jack McNamara, Louis Craffey, Jacob Bonnett, and Pierson Van Gorp,” Monroe said. “There was no surprise why those guys were voted captains by their teammates and coaches. What they did for us on and off the court every day will be truly missed.”

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