There’s nothing like a rivalry game atmosphere to get the competitive juices flowing. With a packed house in the Storm Cellar, the Skyview boys basketball team withstood a late Columbia River charge to earn a 47-42 win Friday.
Kyle Gruhler scored a game-high 18 points, including a two-handed dunk in the third quarter and a spinning floater to seal the game with under a minute left in the fourth quarter.
“It’s something he’s really had to work on,” coach Matt Gruhler said of his son’s clutch shot. “Our guys have tried to figure out some new roles. In that situation, Kyle has been a guy that we need to run the offense through. He’s proven he can do that inside and outside.”
Kyle Gruhler was the Storm’s response to Nate Snook, who finished with 16 points for the Chieftains, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the first half and a fallaway jumper after inbounding a pass off the defender to end the third quarter.
“He’s very tough to guard,” coach Gruhler said of Snook. “I’ve watched the guy play since he was in elementary school, probably. … He’s a tough player, made some big shots.”
It was a close game throughout — the Storm opened up a lead as big as nine points before the Chieftains would draw back in.
Squeeky Johnson gave the Storm some comfort in the third quarter, knocking down three 3-pointers in the frame to open up a 42-33 lead entering the fourth quarter. He finished with 12 points, all off 3-pointers. The Storm had seven 3s as a team.
“Coming into the game, I knew I needed to focus on form,” Johnson said. “It took a bit to hit those three 3s. I just had to calm down and embrace the atmosphere.
Skyview’s offense went quiet in the fourth quarter, as the Chieftains got within three points with under a minute to go. Snook had a chance to tie the game, but saw his long 3-point attempt carom off the left rim.
The Storm responded with Gruhler’s clutch basket to return the lead to a comfortable five. Alec Marshall added 10 points for the Storm, which improve to 3-1 on the season.
“We’re feeling good,” Johnson said. “We’ve figured it out. We’ve won three in a row and just beat our rivals. It’s a big game, so we’re feeling good.”
It’s the third straight victory in the rivalry game for the Storm.
Columbia River (1-1) picked up 11 points from Alex Miller and eight points from Dylan Valdez, who also grabbed a dozen rebounds.
SKYVIEW 47, COLUMBIA RIVER 42
COLUMBIA RIVER — Nate Snook 16, Alex Miller 11, Daniel Hjort 0, Josh Kukula 0, Marc Miranda 2, Michael Foust 5, Dylan Valdez 8. Totals 17 (4) 1-2 42.
SKYVIEW — Mehkai Brooks 3, Squeeky Johnson 12, Xavier Owens 0, Cole Bain 0, Alec Marshall 6, Kyle Gruhler 18, Jace Chatman 8, Cody McKinney 0. Totals 17 (7) 6-12 47.
Col. River 13 11 9 9–42
Skyview 15 11 16 5—47