HILLSBORO, Ore. — It wasn’t so much that Battle Ground lost Friday at their second game of the Les Schwab Invitational that frustrated the Tigers, but more of how they lost.
How they lost a game they felt they should’ve won. Instead, they watched a double-digit lead evaporate and a chance for the win slip away in a 63-59 loss to Oregon Class 6A Clackamas at Liberty High School.
“It’s a tough loss,” said junior guard Nate Millspaugh, who led the Tigers with 22 points. “It shouldn’t have happened.”
Battle Ground (6-4 overall) has dropped both games of the annual boys basketball tournament, but still plays two more. Saturday, it’ll face Lake Oswego at 10:30 a.m.
Friday against the Cavaliers featured a matchup of prized big men of Battle Ground’s Kaden Perry (Gonzaga commit) and fellow junior, 6-foot-8 Ben Gregg, of Clackamas. It was Gregg (game-high 32 points), in fact, who made the steal off the in-bounds and ensuing layin when Battle Ground tried to go for the game-winning shot on its final possession trailing 61-59 with 8.6 seconds left.
In their minds, though, it should not have come down to needing that play. Not after a first half shooting better than 50 percent from the floor and having a double-digit lead by the 3:20 mark of the second quarter.
“We just came out (in the second half) not as ready as they were,” Millspaugh said.
The Cavaliers (3-2) dominated points in the paint behind Gregg’s game-high on 12 of 26 shooting, but beyond the arc is where the Tigers shined to build its first-half lead.
That came courtesy of Millspaugh, whose team-best 22 points came on 8 of 14 shooting (4 of 9 from 3-point range). Two of his four-made 3-pointers were beyond 25 feet.
Well within his range, Perry said, and gets the outside shooting going, too.
“That’s big,” Perry said. “Being able to have a guy, especially Nate, hit that consistently. … It helps our offense get going.”
Millspaugh had 15 points by halftime when BG’s lead was 35-27. All first-half points and field-goal attempts came by Millspaugh, Beall and Perry.
One day after fouling out inside 3 minutes left in the third quarter, Perry was one of three Tigers to play all 32 minutes. He had a team-best 24 points, 14 rebounds, and a trio of assists and blocks.
In fact, he had the team’s first eight points of the fourth quarter after Clackamas erased Battle Ground’s 11-point advantage and took a 47-44 lead — its first lead since the first quarter. Battle Ground never led after 52-51 but cut Clackamas’ lead to 58-57 with a 3 by Beall inside 90 seconds left.
CLACKAMAS (Ore.) 63, BATTLE GROUND 59
Battle Ground: Max Ramirez 2, Cole Billingsley 0, Nate Millspaugh 22, Brendan Beall 11, Kaden Perry 24, Jake Kostman 0, David Reed 0, Brian Weeks 0. Totals 23 (7) 6-8 59.
Clackamas: KJ Horsley 7, Damon Erickson 2, Ben Gregg 32, Ryan Lewis 10, Izzy Baker 3, Daniel Mahler 4, Michael Vorobets 2, Derek Di’Griogorio 3, Jackson Jaha 0. Totals 25 (6) 7-12 63.
- Ground 13 22 11 13 – 59
Clackamas 13 14 22 14 – 63