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News / Sports / Prep Sports

Skyview drops Les Schwab Invitational to West Linn, 68-67

Schumacher finishes with 24 points in back-and-forth game defined by lead changes

By Andy Buhler, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: December 26, 2018, 3:01pm

HILLSBORO, Ore. — Each time the team ran through the set in practice, Alex Schumacher swished the shot.

Same lineup, different variations. It didn’t matter. The Skyview senior felt confident. But when the Storm drew up the same play, down one with seven seconds left of its opening game in the Les Schwab Invitational on Wednesday afternoon, the shot clanked off the right side of the rim — a result that Schumacher, a well-traveled guard, has learned not overthink.

“From my spot, I though, ‘oh, it’s going in,’ then he missed it,” Skyview coach Matt Gruhler said. “It was a good look — exactly what we wanted.”

Throughout the Storm’s 68-67 loss to West Linn at Liberty High School, guarding Schumacher proved difficult for the Lions. The senior finished with a game-high 24 points and added seven rebounds.

Now he will turn the page quickly as Skyview plays again with less than a day to prepare.

“We gave them a heck of a battle, they just made one more shot than we did,” Matt Gruhler said.

That’s what the Storm agreed to when they accepted an invitation to one of the country’s premier high school basketball tournaments. And during key moments of the back-and-forth game against the Lions, who finished third in the OSAA 6A state tournament last season, the Storm appeared poised to win.

Skyview trailed by one at half, and as many as 10 in the third quarter, then responded with a 17-4 run to lead by as many as eight points in the third.

Its goal of keeping athletic forward Oreon Courtney off the offensive glass proved difficult. Courtney had 10 boards — four offensive — and the Lions grabbed 12 offensive boards to Skyview’s six.

The Storm’s two point lead dissipated early in the fourth.

Then Kyle Gruhler hit his first 3 of the game with just under four minutes left, then Squeeky Johnson hit another to put the Storm up four with just over three minutes left.

With possession, down one with 40 seconds left, Skyview milked the clock (Oregon plays without a shot clock) and Johnson finished a go-ahead floater in the lane after crossing up a defender at the top of the key.

But West Linn took a one point lead with seven seconds left when Oreon Courtney finished a contested layup set up by a no-look pass from Lions big man Damiko Tidmore Jr., setting up the heavily-contested, but well-rehearsed potential game-winner from Schumacher.

“When you have a great player, you put it in his hands and see if he can create something,” Matt Gruhler said. “And (Schumacher) did some good things throughout the day, where it didn’t look like there was much and he made something out of it.”

Kyle Gruhler finished with 15 points and seven rebounds and Johnson had 14 points on 6 of 10 shooting. West Linn was led by guards Bryson Crockett (21 points) and Garrett Micah (18 points). Oreon had 15 points and 10 boards.

Skyview was out rebounded 36-25, a battle it has attempted to compensate for throughout much of the season having lost most of it size from a team that made the 4A state quarterfinals last season.

For Schumacher, a senior who has garnered interest from some D-II schools, the tournament setup of playing four games in four days against some of the top recruits in the country mirrors the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League — a nationally competitive AAU circuit he competes in during summers.

Skyview turns around to play Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. against South Salem. Just enough time to take lessons away from Wednesday’s opener, according to Matt Gruhler.

“We’re going to have four of these so hopefully we learn from it and bounce back pretty quick,” he said.

WEST LINN (Ore.) 68, SKYVIEW 67

WEST LINN — Micah Garrett 18, Oreon Courtney 15, Damiko Tidmore Jr. 6, Bryson Crockett 21, Drayton Caoile 6, Cade Knutson 0, Mason VanBeenen 0, Parker Durbin 2. 30-61 (3) 5-6 68.
SKYVIEW (6-2) — Alex Schumacher 24, Squeeky Johnson 14, Sean Boss 5, Lowell Dunmire 5, Alec Marshall 0, Kyle Gruhler 15, Jace Chatman 3, Derek Lewis 0, Cody McKinney 1. 24-53 (10) 9-13 .

West Linn 15 13 22 18 — 68
Skyview 11 16 25 15 — 67

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Columbian Staff Writer