Damien Ford said he’s had his good days and his bad days for the Battle Ground Tigers.
He acknowledged he was not on his coach’s good side recently.
So he waited patiently on the bench Thursday night, hoping to hear his name called, hoping he could help his team win.
Thursday was more than a good day for Damien Ford. It was a game-winning day.
Ford, the 12th player the Tigers used, hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime, then helped create a three-point play to secure a 48-40 win over the Skyview Storm in a key Class 4A Greater St. Helens League boys basketball game.
Battle Ground (9-8, 4-3) moved into sole possession of third place in the league. Skyview (9-8, 3-4) dropped to fourth, a half-game ahead of Camas.
Miles Luke led Battle Ground with 18 points and 12 rebounds, Jamie Ford added eight points, and the Tigers survived an offensively challenging game at Skyview.
“This is a good feeling,” Luke said. “Last year, our last game here, we scored five points in the first half. This was a big improvement.”
Damien Ford swished a 3-pointer from the corner with just more than a minute to play in overtime to break a 40-all tie.
“I was looking for Miles, but it wasn’t there. I was wide open, so I decided to shoot it,” he said. “I shot it with confidence.”
After a Skyview turnover, Damien Ford looked for Luke again. This time he found him after a drive down the key. When the Skyview defense collapsed around Ford, Luke was open. Luke caught the pass, scored, and was fouled. His free throw made it 46-40 with 31 seconds to play.
“I saw Miles open out of the corner of my eye,” Ford said. “I didn’t want to be selfish.”
Luke joked that Ford just did not want his shot blocked, so he had to pass the ball.
Either way, it was the Tigers who were all smiles when this one ended.
“That was a great win for us,” Battle Ground coach Gregg Kalian said. “We never play well here. The kids stepped up.”
Keegan Liebelt led Skyview with 14 points. His 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter gave Skyview a 34-33 lead. But Jake Sachen responded with a 3-pointer for Battle Ground.
Reiley Henderson and Ben Spies would score the next baskets for Skyview to make it 38-36 with 3:12 remaining. The Storm, though, would not score the rest of the quarter.
Luke’s lay-up with 1:14 to play tied the game, and defenses prevailed until overtime.
Jordan Berni, who had 10 points for Skyview, scored with 2:05 left in OT to give the Storm a 40-38 lead. That was it for the Storm, who were trying for their fourth win in a row.
“Down the stretch, you gotta execute better to win the close games,” Skyview coach Adam Horn said. “That’s how it’s going to be the rest of the way. The games are going to be close.”
Kevin Haynes connected on a long 2-pointer to tie the game at the 1:39 mark. Then it was Damien Ford’s time.
Ford would leave the game with 18 seconds to play after rolling an ankle, but by then he had provided all that was needed to give the Tigers the win.
A good day for him, indeed.
BATTLE GROUND 48, SKYVIEW 40
BATTLE GROUND — Jamie Ford 8, Damien Ford 3, Daniel Duong 2, Trevor Ingram 2, Jake Sachen 3, Kevin Haynes 5, Miles Luke 18, Taylor Smith 0, Keaton Hoots 0, Colby Cahoon 0, Josh Lemar 5, Devin Johnson 2. Totals 16-55 (4-17) 12-15 48.
SKYVIEW — Christian Bukant 0, Brian Brady 0, Kalvin Johnson 2, Jordan Berni 10, Reiley Henderson 2, Keegan Liebelt 14, Ben Spies 8, Marcus Lord 1, Lucas Baricevic 0, Will Lopez 2, Parker Baker 1, Daniel Thomas 0. Totals 13-39 (3-15) 11-19 40.
Battle Ground 9 8 11 10 10–48
Skyview 10 2 14 12 2–40