Experienced girls varsity basketball team hopes to bounce back from playoff upset last year

Tommy Spaletto

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Coming off of a 14-7 record and a second place finish in the OK White Conference, the girls varsity basketball team hopes to improve on last year’s finish and accomplish bigger and better things.

The Lady Rangers fell to the Cedar Springs Red Hawks in a heartbreaking loss 42-38 in the district semifinals last year, and the team will be motivated by that loss to succeed this year. 

“The loss has definitely motivated us because we knew we could’ve won the game against Cedar Springs,” junior captain Katy Majick said. “The returners hated the feeling of losing that game, so we are working extra hard for that not to happen again.“

Despite losing some key seniors, FHC does return some key pieces that will have an increased role in order to succeed this year. Katy along with junior Zoe Lipke will be key in the backcourt in order for FHC to have success. The two bring great ball-handling skills and shooting that could help the Lady Rangers on offense. Senior Ally Ringler will also be a key asset, as her great shooting could help FHC put many points on the board. 

The Rangers also add talent from a conference championship JV team, where many new faces will be expected to contribute. Sophomore Julia Carlson gives the Rangers some depth at the guard position. Junior Ava Metaj will see some minutes with her athleticism and defense along with junior Katie Tellier bringing some height and depth to the forward position. 

But maybe FHC’s most dangerous asset this year is Michigan State commit and sophomore Theryn Hallock. Theryn is a relentless scorer and can also get stops on the defensive end, which is just what the Lady Rangers need this season. 

“[Theryn] is one of the most athletic girls I’ve seen play in a long time,” Head coach Kristina Prins said. “She is dangerous because you never know what she’s going to do next. She changes it up which makes her so difficult to guard. On top of that, she has a quick first step. So if you can’t stay in front of her, she will cause some trouble“

While FHC will mostly rely on returning talent this year, two new freshmen will be added to the lineup. Thea Sloat and Delaney Smith will need to contribute early on both ends of the floor  to add depth to this Lady Ranger team. 

“We need these girls for some key minutes and to be able to make some key defensive plays as well as be assets on offense,” Prins said. “They won’t be tossed in per say like the two freshmen last year in a starting role, but they will be key players off the bench. We are super excited to have them. They are both amazing athletes and tremendous competitors, which helps elevates our practices and hopefully games.“

The Lady Rangers start off with two important non-conference games against Wyoming and Rockford that will test the team early on. Opening night against a young Wyoming team will be a good match, in which FHC will need to focus on limiting turnovers. Rockford is battle tested playing in a very good OK Red conference, so the Rangers will need to come out strong from the get go in order to beat a gritty Rams team. 

In conference play, Northview and Forest Hills Northern will be the biggest challenges for the Rangers this season. Last year, FHC was a combined 1-3 against the two teams last year, so they will need to defeat both of these teams in order to accomplish the team’s goal of winning the OK White. 

“Northern and Northview will be two of our biggest games and will probably be the toughest,” Theryn said. “Both teams are beatable and I think we are all looking forward to those two games in particular. It will be important to play well and work hard in those games to beat two other teams that are athletic, and good in our conference.“

With key returning pieces and adding depth at all positions, the girls varsity basketball team will be a competitor in the OK White conference. If all the pieces fall into play and the Rangers are able to build confidence early in the season, this could be a very dangerous team come late in the season. 

“What I’m most excited for is this team’s sheer athleticism,” Prins said. “This will be hands down the most athletic bunch I’ve coached. We are extremely excited to get to games and see where we go. We will cause lots of turnovers on defense and will be able to convert to really excel.“