Skillful Davis stepped up to the free throw line and was true on his first attempt.
Then he made another.
And, true story, one more.
The Union Titans went from clinging to a four-point lead to having a nine-point lead with no time going off the clock Tuesday in a 58-47 win over Battle Ground. It was the opener for both squads in Class 4A Greater St. Helens League boys basketball play.
The Tigers had cut a 16-point deficit to four and were trying to get the ball back with just over a minute left in the game. They looked like they had the Titans where they wanted, with the shot clock winding down.
“I heard my coach yelling, ‘Get a shot up.’ I tried to create some kind of foul,” Davis said. “Luckily, I got the foul.”
Fouled behind the 3-point line, Davis was awarded three free throws. The Battle Ground bench, disappointed with the call at the shot-clock buzzer, was then whistled for a technical.
Davis went 5 for 5 from the line with 1:06 to play in the game, stretching the lead to 55-46.
“I closed everything out and stayed focused,” Davis said. “I just did my same routine.”
Just like that, Union was 1-0 in the 4A GSHL.
Micah Paulson led the Titans with 14 points, and Davis scored 11 of his 13 in the second half.
Paulson’s 3-pointer early in the third quarter gave Union its biggest lead at 16 points.
The Tigers would cut the deficit in half by the end of the period. Jamie Ford, who led all scorers with 15 points, scored 10 in the period for Battle Ground.
Both teams traded turnovers for much of the fourth quarter, but it was the Titans who took advantage of the extra possessions. Trailing by eight, Battle Ground would turn the ball over on four of five possessions. Davis capitalized with two lay-ups in that stretch.
“When everyone’s clicking, when everyone is after it, it’s just fun to be out there,” Davis said of the Union pressure defense. “We got a couple of tips, and it led to me getting a couple of lay-ups. All because of my team.”
The Titans would then go three minutes without scoring, leading to a closer game. Then came the odd occurrence of shooting five free throws in a row.
In his first year as the head coach at Union, Blake Conley was not satisfied with the entire game but pleased to start his 4A GSHL career with a victory.
“We’ve been talking about wanting to play four quarters,” Conley said. “We did it for two quarters. Luckily our first half was good enough to give us a buffer.”
Riley Hawken scored all 12 of his points in the first half for the Titans. Freshman Cameron Cranston hit two 3-pointers in the second quarter, helping the Titans go up 14 at the break.
Damien Ford made two 3-pointers for Battle Ground in the second half. He finished with eight points.
Conley said Union’s tough nonleague schedule prepared his team for this game.
“Battle Ground’s a good team,” Conley said. “This is a good win.”
UNION 58, BATTLE GROUND 47
Battle Ground — Jamie Ford 15, Nate Moring 6, Damien Ford 8, Jeff Moran 0, Devin Johnson 6, Ben Nikolas 0, Josh Lemar 6, Colby Cahoon 3, Taylor Smith 3. Totals 18 (6) 5-12 47.
Union — Derrick Derryberry 2, Cole Weatherspoon 0, Micah Paulson 14, Leon Siofele 0, Austin Brown 3, Skillful Davis 13, Isaiah Robinson 6, Riley Hawken 12, Cameron Cranston 6, Spencer Martin 2, Stephan Ammentorp 0. Totals 19 (5) 15-23 58.
B. Ground 11 8 17 11–47
Union 14 19 11 14–58
JV — Union 59-49. C — Battle Ground 60-48.