The boys freshman basketball team faced off against the Forest Hills Northern Huskies on Thursday night in an attempt to stay unbeaten in conference play. With a handful of students coming out to support, the team was ready to take on its biggest rival in the Huskies. The Rangers came out firing at all cylinders, taking a controlling 12-3 lead in the first five minutes, forcing the Huskies’ coach to call a timeout to rally his troops.
With 6:35 left in the half, guard Justin Osterhouse hit a big and-one layup to give the Rangers their first double-digit lead of the game. This was a huge swing in momentum that gave the team the confidence they needed to continue its domination. The coaches loved how their team executed their game plan so well, knowing that this is such a big game on the Rangerball schedule.
“I believe our close win over Ottawa [Hills] really gave us the confidence and momentum to come out and play as hard as we did,” assistant coach Matt Ellis said.
Head coach Adam Monroe added to Ellis’s point, further emphasizing the importance of this game.
“The guys were fired up for this one. Our talk before the game was that this rivalry will run through Central [High School] for the next four years, and I could not be more proud of how they played in order to prove that,” Monroe said.
Clearly this game means a lot to both the players and the coaches, everyone always wants to beat Northern badly. The rivalry is one that will continue through the rest of their careers in the Rangerball program, and they wanted to start it off the right way.
“Playing and beating Northern at home was awesome,” freshman small forward Levi McKenzie said. “We set the tone for this rivalry game in years to come and gave us a huge advantage.”
The team finished the first quarter leading the Huskies 12 to 5. The Rangers continued their dominance into the second quarter. Freshman small forward Owen Meyer helped lead the way with 14 points in the first half alone.
“[Owen] was tremendous and really gave us the lift we needed. He knocked down shots, set screens and had a bunch of points in the paint,” Ellis said.
Owen finished the game with a career-high 27 points, going 8-8 from the free-throw line.
“Owen did very well,” Levi said. “He stepped up huge for the team and gave us a huge boost.”
Monroe was proud of his team for staying aggressive and driving to the rim, forcing Northern to foul them to get to the line. The Rangers went 14/15 from the free-throw line, punishing Northern for its mistakes.
“We scrimmaged [East Grand Rapids] earlier this year, and they are a really solid basketball team. The game went back and forth the whole time,” Ellis said. “We are looking forward to the challenge and are expecting an effort like the one tonight.”
With the big win over FHN, the boys are now 5-0 in conference play and 8-1 in total. Next week, the Rangers travel Tuesday to East Grand Rapids to face the Pioneers and on Thursday to play Northview Wildcats.
“I am very excited to see us build of this win for next week. East [Grand Rapids] and Northview will be two tough games for us and I’m excited for our guys to be tested once again,” Monroe said.