Young girls varsity basketball team has successful season ended early


Senior Claire Baguley entered her last season as a Lady Ranger as the only returning starter and leading scorer from last year’s team. She ended with 371 points this season to lead the girls varsity basketball team to a 14-7 finish while taking second place in the OK White.

“There is so much I can say about Claire,” head coach Kristina Prins said. “She was the heart and soul of the team this year and was an incredible leader. The amount of work she puts in each and every day is incredible. She has been a huge example for our program for the last four years and has [left] extremely big shoes to fill.”

FHC started off the season red-hot to go 3-0 against non-conference opponents Wyoming, Grandville, and Forest Hills Eastern. The youth of this team showed anything but inexperience, as starting freshmen Theryn Hallock and Remmie Ingraham combined for 69 points across the three games to establish themselves as high-scoring threats. Junior Ally Ringler, a role player last season, posted a career-high 19 points against Grandville, followed by a 12-point outing against FHE to become a valuable scoring asset for the Rangers.

“It was very motivating to start out strong and win our first three games,” Claire said. “I think it helped our confidence a lot and got us very excited for the rest of the season.”

With an unblemished record, the Lady Rangers traveled to Rockford for a stiff test against a then one-loss team in the Rams. Theryn had 9 of her 13 points in the first three minutes of the game to put FHC up 12-1 early. Rockford substantially closed the gap behind senior guard Anna Glynn, and it was a dog fight the rest of the game.

The end of regulation saw a score knotted up at 33, and the two teams entered a just-as-intense overtime. The Rangers couldn’t make the crucial shots down the stretch, and Rockford handed FHC its first loss of the season 42-39.

“Losing to Rockford was hard,” sophomore Zoe Lipke said, “not only because it was our first loss of the season, but our team just didn’t play our best game. We walked off knowing we should have won, but I think it ignited a fire under us.”

The Rangers had a quick turnaround to play game one of the Cornerstone Holiday Tournament just three days later. Behind Claire’s 30 points and an airtight press, FHC took down NorthPointe Christian 56-44. With Rockford also winning its first game, the two were on a collision course for a rematch just over a week after the first meeting.

After heading into the half trailing the Rams 21-19, the Rangers gained momentum off of pure hustle plays and heart. FHC went on a 10-0 run, started by a steal and layup from Ally scrapping for a loose ball. Rockford would never get closer than 3 points to the Rangers’ lead, and FHC won its division of the Cornerstone Tournament with a 45-37 revenge win over Rockford. Theryn was named to the All-Tournament team with 21 combined points, while Claire was named Tournament MVP with 50 points over the two games.

“I feel like Cornerstone was when Claire really realized that not a lot of people could stop her and that she is a premier player in our area,” Prins said. “Winning that tournament, especially against Rockford, was an incredible feat for the girls.”

FHC then traveled into Northview to open up conference play with the Wildcats. Despite a very cold offensive performance in the first half, the Rangers’ defense kept them in the game to only trail Northview by 2 going into the half.

While the Lady Rangers came out in the second half playing more like their usual selves, they went cold at exactly the wrong time. Northview was able to go on a 10-5 scoring run to end the fourth quarter and tie the game up at 39; the Wildcats then outscored FHC 9-0 in overtime for the 48-39 win.

“Losing to Northview was very hard; it seems like we never play well against them,” Claire said. “It was tough coming out of the Holiday Tournament win then losing our first conference game.”

Despite another heartbreaking loss, FHC bounced back and picked up two OK White wins over Cedar Springs and Ottawa Hills 53-44 and 60-46, respectively. The scoring trio of Claire, Theryn, and Remmie earned 86 of FHC’s 113 points.

“Winning a few games in the middle of our season definitely got our confidence back up,” Claire said. “Those are good teams, and we were able to run our plays efficiently and play good defense.”

Sitting at 7-2 (2-1), the Rangers headed into a big week to take on crosstown rival Forest Hills Northern and non-conference opponent East Grand Rapids. While having the home-court advantage in both matchups, FHC dropped both games in respectable fashion.

Claire did all she could against the Huskies of FHN with 23 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals, and a block, but the rest of the Ranger squad couldn’t help her out on the offensive end. Northern senior guard Madi Stevenson posted 18 points to lead the Huskies to a key win, 52-43.

In the following game, the Rangers came out motivated to take down EGR—the team that knocked FHC out of playoffs last season. After being tied up at 10 after the first quarter, the Rangers found themselves down by 15 at the half. The Pioneers’ senior guard Olivia Brown was the hot hand, as she led EGR with 16 points on the night. A fourth-quarter surge from FHC was too-little-too-late; the damage had been done in the second and third quarters, and the Rangers lost their second game of the week 61-44.

“I think we did a nice job keeping our heads up,” Claire said. “Everyone knows that FHN and EGR are really good teams, so we weren’t crushed; honestly I think it motivated us to step up our game.”

The infamous Snow Week, which gave nearly every team in the area all five days off of school, may have been exactly what the Lady Rangers needed; following the short break, FHC won five of the next six games and was in a position to be a contender for the conference championship.

“Basketball is such a long season, and besides Christmas break, it really never ends,” Claire said. “The Snow Week was a week of rest, considering we weren’t allowed to practice, and it allowed everyone to collect themselves. When we could practice, we did a lot of fundamentals, which always gets a team back into the groove of things.”

The Rangers first picked up a 53-42 win over Greenville, sparked by Zoe’s return from a knee injury with 8 points, a team-high 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. While trailing the Yellow Jackets 23-21 at the half, FHC went on a defensively-fueled 12-0 scoring run to take the lead for good.

“It was really difficult to sit out because this is a recurring injury,” said Zoe, who earned a starting spot upon her return. “When I was able to play again, it was amazing, and I was so happy to be able to finish off the season.”

A week later, a career-high 32 points from Claire led FHC to a blowout win over rival Lowell. The Rangers held the Red Arrows to just 3 points in the first half, as their defense was absolutely suffocating; FHC had 13 steals as a team, with 7 coming from Claire. Despite 15 points in the third quarter, Lowell was held scoreless in the fourth, and the Rangers picked up their second straight win 57-18.

A career-high 22 points from Theryn, in addition to 7 assists and 6 steals, propelled FHC to yet another win, this time over the Bengals of Ottawa Hills 72-29. Claire also posted 23 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, and 2 assists for her Senior Night game, with fellow seniors Charlotte Delaney and Kaitlyn Piontkowsky putting up 4 points each and a combined 5 rebounds.

FHC next headed into a Monday night make-up game with Northview with a share of the conference title on the line. After shooting 20% from the field with 11 turnovers, the Rangers had dug themselves in a hole early to trail the Wildcats 25-14 at the half.

Theryn earned a team-high 18 points and 5 steals to give FHC some momentum in the third quarter; the Rangers went on a 10-0 scoring run capped off by a three-pointer by Remmie to pull FHC within 3, 27-24. Down by 5 with 15 seconds left in the game, FHC turned the ball over to secure Northview’s outright conference championship.

Just two days later, Claire and Theryn continued to be a scoring threat, as the two combined for 47 of FHC’s 58 points in the second game against Lowell of the season. While the Red Arrows had a better showing than the first time around, senior guards Regan Coxon and Emily Depew were the only two that could score, as they combined for 30 of their team’s 37 points. With few other players from Lowell being able to contribute, the Rangers completed the sweep over their rival with a 58-37 win.

The very next day, FHC scrapped out an ugly win over Cedar Springs behind Claire’s 20 points. The last 8 points for the Rangers came off of free throws, as they shot 75% from the line as a team; these were crucial to ice the game for FHC to avoid a scare and win 40-31.

After a bus ride up to Greenville the next week, the Rangers couldn’t overcome the Yellow Jackets twice in the regular season with an ice cold offensive outing. Theryn was the leading scorer with 12 while Claire had 11, but FHC was unprepared for Greenville to come out as strong as it did. The Rangers dropped it 54-48 for their fourth conference loss.

With identical conference records, FHC and FHN would next compete for second place in the OK White in the regular-season finale. A career-high 15-point performance from Remmie was a spark for the Rangers, as they were able to overcome trailing 20-12 at the half.

Remmie, Theryn, and Claire completely swung the momentum in favor of FHC in the third quarter, and the three combined for 47 of the Rangers’ 52 points. After the freshman duo tied things up, Claire converted a three-point play with a drive and free throw to lead 27-25 with a minute remaining. Theryn’s third three-pointer of the night rounded out a 13-3 scoring run from the Rangers early in the fourth quarter, and FHC held on for the 52-45 win.

“That was an awesome win,” Claire said. “After being down at half, we rallied and were able to beat a rival, which definitely got us excited for playoffs.”

The comeback win over Northern solidified the Rangers’ regular-season record of 13-6 (8-4) and gave them momentum headed into a rematch with Greenville for the District-opener.

Six three-pointers from Claire led the charge, as the Rangers completely dominated against the Yellow Jackets. FHC went on a 26-0 scoring run through the first and second quarters to lead 32-6 at the break. While the Yellow Jackets outscored FHC in the second half, the explosive offensive production in the first half was too much, and the Rangers won it 45-25.

The Rangers would advance to play Cedar Springs, whom they beat twice in the regular season, for the District Semifinal. The Red Hawks came to flat-out play, as they stunned the Rangers early to lead 14-6 after the first quarter.

Remmie’s team-high 12 points and a couple of three-pointers late in the game from sophomore Katy Majick weren’t enough to dig out of a hole. With time winding down, FHC had to foul; Cedar Springs made just one out of six attempts from the line, but it was enough to make it a two-possession game with a 4-point lead, 42-38. Two shots from behind the arc rimmed out for the Rangers, and the Red Hawks walked away with a huge upset to end FHC’s season.

“They had an awesome game plan and executed it flawlessly,” Prins said. “They completely took away our driving lane, which was tough; we just couldn’t make a shot or even a layup. It was as if the magic of Monday’s shooting was gone.”

While the Lady Rangers lose just one starter at the conclusion of this season, it is a big one in Claire. This three-year starter has been the team’s leading scorer for the past two years and is a lockdown defender. As the team’s sole captain, she was a clear leader on and off the court and will be a big loss.

“Losing Claire is going to be so hard,” Theryn said. “She is one of our best players, and her leadership and desire will forever be remembered. There will never be another Claire; she worked so hard, and we all looked up to her.”

The Rangers, however, are primed for the coming years. With the second- and third-leading scorers in Theryn and Remmie returning for the next three years, FHC will have plenty of talent to work with.

“I’m excited to come back and watch the next few years,” Claire said. “Remmie and Theryn are the best freshman duo I’ve ever seen, and both of them are going to develop into amazing basketball players that will be a problem for teams. Theryn is already scoring like an upperclassman, and Remmie can shoot and rebound so well.”

The sophomore class also will be a big returning asset. Zoe is a two-year varsity player and is a great distributor from the point guard position. Katy will likely get much more playing time in her coming junior season, but she has already shown her ability as a perimeter shooter and a solid defender. Sophomore Brittney Probst was tasked with face guarding many opponents’ leading scorers and held each of them to well below their averages.

“I am glad that our team is young,” Theryn said. “Losing seniors, especially Claire, is going to be hard, but we have many experienced underclassmen, so it will be so much fun for the next couple years.”

With plenty of returners and a variety of talent to choose from off of a conference championship JV team, the Lady Rangers will likely be able to make a run next season through the OK White and into playoffs.

“We want to really dedicate ourselves to be the best and show up each and every day with that mentality,” Prins said. “Doing the little things will make the big things easy, and [we want to] become a premier defensive and offensive team. The girls are driven and young, but now they have the experience to back them.”