FHC’s Greatest: 2014-15 boys varsity basketball team

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Among the many great boys varsity basketball teams in FHC’s history, the team led by coach Ken George in the years 2014-2015 stands out above the rest; this team was extremely competitive, having players that pushed each other to compete at their best ability, and an experienced coach to guide them to their success. The starting lineup consisted of four players that went on to play in college, and one player, Xavier Tillman, that has entered the NBA. They finished their regular season undefeated, making them the OK White and District champions. The boys made it to Regionals, losing to Muskegon in a hard fight, ending the year with an overall record of 23-1. 

Coach George:I guess the best part for me was how these guys responded to being pushed beyond their limits. We knew we could win 15 of our 20 games based on talent alone, but we decided from day one that our goals were much more than that. So, even after blowout victories, we were hard on them in practice and pushed them to never relax or take anything for granted. After a short time, they didn’t need much more prodding; they pushed each other to improve every day.”

Chad Bauchan: “I think there were a few things that made that team special. First, we were a very close group not just on the court but off the court as well; we loved being around each other and spending time together as a group. Second, we all had a high competitive drive, we wanted to win not only games but every drill. We loved going to practice because it was an opportunity for us to compete. The last thing that made this team special was Coach George. He knew and we knew that we were a very talented team, but he didn’t let that get to our heads and kept us down to earth while still pushing us.” 

Johnny Nutter: “I was most proud that all of our hard work and dedication we put in leading up to the season paid off with a school record-breaking season and championships won. Coach George and the Rangerball program really showed me how to handle adversity as well as success. I built habits from Rangerball that I use every day with my business.”

Alex Dykema: “The team atmosphere was very relaxed, we always had fun together and had plenty of laughs. I think it got to the point where our coaches and everyone trusted that we took practicing and playing games seriously, so the more laid-back atmosphere worked.”

Coach George:This was definitely a goofy group. We had a lot of fun together on bus rides, in team meetings, at team dinners, and essentially any time we were together. A lot of the guys hung out with each other outside of school, so friendships ran deep. By the end of the season, we were pretty much family. One of the keys to the season was that everyone accepted their role; the guys who didn’t play that much (until we were ahead by a lot) worked so hard every day to push the top players to improve.”

Chad Bauchan: “The Rangerball program affected me in a lot of ways and helped make me into the person that I am today. I learned how to handle adversity and stay positive even when things are going bad. Coach George does a great job not only shaping kids into great basketball players but even better people.” 

Alex Dykema: “I would say what made our team so special was how close we were as friends. One of my favorite memories with the team was going up to Traverse City, playing TC Central, and hanging out there that weekend.” 

Johnny Nutter: “Completing the 20-0 regular season and winning the conference championship the same night was awesome. Doing that with some awesome guys like Sam Uecker, Alex Dykema, Xavier Tillman, and others is something I’ll never forget.”