Battle Ground enjoys season-opening win over Fort

Tigers rally from big first-half deficit to win going away

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter



BATTLE GROUND -- Devin Johnson said he loves basketball practice. He could do it every day, just to get better.

Still, it is always a little bit more fun to play in a basketball game.

photoDevin Johnson of Battle Ground

Johnson had a blast Monday night for Battle Ground, helping the Tigers open the 2013-14 boys season with a 64-44 non-league victory over Fort Vancouver.

Johnson had 15 points, 10 rebounds, and six blocked shots, and his third-quarter performance sparked the Tigers to a big lead.

"I'm so jacked. I'm just really happy with my team right now," Johnson said.

Jamie Ford led Battle Ground with 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting, and the Tigers gave their new coach a 1-0 record with the program.

"Most importantly, I'm really happy for the kids," coach Wes Armstrong said. "New coach. New system. We were kind of deer-in-the-headlights to start off, but they responded very well after halftime."

It was opening night for several teams in Washington. Those programs that did not play Monday will have games later in the week.

The Trappers led by as many as 14 in the first half, using a 23-1 run. The Tigers, though, cut the lead in half by halftime, setting up a defensive showcase in the second half.

Battle Ground held Fort to no field goals in the third quarter and used a 19-0 run to take control. Johnson had three of his blocked shots in the period. He also had two steals.

"I guess something just clicked," Johnson said. "I really wanted to take initiative. My teammates picked it up, too, and I fed off that energy. We just got rolling."

Battle Ground won the third quarter 19-3. Fort's first field goal of the second half came with 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

"Early December basketball is always a little bit sloppy," Fort coach Scott Thompson said. "But it's still fun to be back, especially in my last year."

Thompson has already announced this will be his last season with the Trappers. He expects his team will show improvement in the coming months before he says goodbye.

Tre Eisenhut led Fort with 15 points. Jordan Suell scored 11.


FORT VANCOUVER-- Will Doty 4, Tre Eisenhut 15, Jacob Brugman 0, Jordan Howard 5, Jordan Suell 11, Jacob Howard 9, Nate Harris 0. Totals: 17-59 (3-14) 7-13 44.

BATTLE GROUND -- Jamie Ford 25, Damien Ford 7, Devin Johnson 15, Josh Lemar 7, Taylor Smith 0, Colby Cahoon 3, Nate Moring 0, Keaton Hoots 2, Jeff Moran 5, Ben Nikolas 0. Totals: 24-57 (4-12) 12-17 64.

Fort Van 17 14 3 10--44

B. Ground 11 13 19 21--64

JV -- Battle Ground 59-49

C -- Battle Ground 63-42