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Defense fuels Skyview in 60-55 win over Barlow (Ore.) on day three of Les Schwab Invitational

Storm hold electric scorer White to two first half points

By Andy Buhler, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: December 28, 2018, 3:49pm

HILLSBORO, Ore. — Sound offense isn’t what Skyview is patting itself on the back for after beating Barlow (Ore.) on Friday.

Instead the Storm credit defense, particularly the ability to frustrate an elite scorer, as instrumental to a 60-55 win over an Oregon power on day three of the Les Schwab Invitational.

A day prior, Skyview watched as a team as Barlow guard Jesse White poured 39 points on Churchill. He’d previously poured 38 points on Jefferson in a win over the returning Oregon 6A state runner-up.

Skyview held the 6-foot-1 junior to two points on 1 of 9 shooting in the first half thanks to the defensive outings of Sean Boss and Squeeky Johnson. White ended up with 17, most of it in the third quarter.

“I think that set the tone a little bit,” Skyview coach Matt Gruhler said. “It’s only going to help us seeing guys who can score the ball like him in the playoffs. I mean, that’s why we’re here.”

Another test Skyview faced was a freezing cold start from the field.

The Storm fell behind 13-4 and not because it wasn’t finding open looks. They couldn’t buy a bucket, at a rate, Matt Gruhler said, that was unparalleled this season. Alex Schumacher said the start mirrored when the Storm played Jackson — its first loss of the season.

When the outside was null, Skyview went inside to Kyle Gruhler early, who had eight of the Storm’s first 10 points and also grabbed five of his nine rebounds in the first half.

Kyle Gruhler, a junior, served as the Storm’s go-to inside presence in a season which he’s been called upon to move from a perimeter player to a reliable post presence.

“In practice (Kyle) is always working on big man drills, this game really showed the hard work he’s been putting in practice,” Schumacher said. “He has a nice post look and fade and he really showed it.”

The production inside kept the Storm within reach until its offense picked up, which happened in the second quarter, when they outscored Barlow 16-7 to take a two-point lead at half.

Both teams deployed effected tactics to bottle up their respective leading scorers in the first half. The Storm found production from junior Jace Chatman, too, who hit double digits scoring (10 points) for the second consecutive game.

“It shocked me how often (Chatman) was taking it to the hoop, I was proud of that,” Schumacher said.

Skyview’s Alex Schumacher had 15 in the second half, as did White. Schumacher finished with a game-high 20 points and added six boards.

Barlow sent a man out to pick Schumacher up full court, even when he wasn’t bringing up the ball and sent a double team in the half court set, which initially forced a pair of turnovers in the second quarter. Schumacher, in return, began to find open teammates.

Skyview scored 14 unanswered points in the second quarter. But Barlow flipped Skyview’s halftime lead into a one-point lead of its own at the end of the third quarter, credit to White’s increased scoring.

Jared Vedus hit a 3-pointer to bring Barlow within three with 37 seconds left, but the Storm hit free throws to hang on. For Matt Gruhler, the win carried a personal connection. Barlow coach Tom Johnson was at Barlow while Gruhler played for Central Catholic in the late 90s.

Skyview will close out its LSI debut by facing the defending Oregon 6A state champion Grant on Saturday at 3 p.m.

“Let’s bounce back and see if we can win a consolation trophy,” Matt Gruhler said. “Yeah, we lost the first one by one but we thought, yeah, let’s compete for something, not just go, ‘oh, shoot that’s too bad.’ ”

SKYVIEW — Alex Schumacher 20, Squeeky Johnson 3, Sean Boss 0, Lowell Dunmire 2, Alec Marshall 6, Kyle Gruhler 13, Jace Chatman 10, Cody McKinney 3. 24-46 (7) 5-7 60.
BARLOW — Noah Lowery 0, Wilson Weber 2, Charles Ndayizeye 0, Dominic Jacoby 6, Evan Inglesby 8, Jesse White 17, Jared Vedus 3, Josh Nomie, Joey Wolcott 11, Jaren Hunter 10. 21-51 (11) 2-4 55.
Skyview 10 16 17 17 — 60
Barlow 17 7 20 11 — 55

Columbian Staff Writer