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Monday, February 26, 2024
Feb. 26, 2024

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Perry’s putback secures Battle Ground boys regional berth

Gonzaga commit scores OT buzzer-beater for bi-district win over Skyview

By , Columbian sports reporter

Twenty-one lead changes. Seven tie games. And one final putback to send the Battle Ground Tigers to the 4A State Regionals.

Kaden Perry caught Nate Millspaugh’s 3-point carom and lifted it back in to give the Tigers a 69-67 overtime victory over Skyview in the 4A West Central/Southwest Bi-District quarterfinals on Friday at Fort Vancouver High School.

Perry, who finished with 38 points and 17 rebounds, had the same heroics in a bi-district win over Olympia a year ago to the day.

“It never gets old,” Perry said. “It’s so exciting.”

Perry, a Gonzaga commit, scored seven of the team’s 10 points in the four-minute overtime, which featured four lead changes. Brendan Beall’s 3-pointer with 55 seconds left gave the Tigers breathing room, 67-63, but Squeeky Johnson and Kyle Gruhler made driving buckets to even the game with 6.2 seconds remaining.

That’s when the Tigers inbounded to Perry, who kicked it to Millspaugh for the open 3-pointer that rimmed out.

“All the confidence in Nate; he was wide open on that shot,” Perry said. “But I had the perfect position and it bounced perfectly to me. I caught it one-handed and put it right back in.”

Beall, who scored 19 points, hit the game-tying shot to send the game into overtime.

With 1:12 left in regulation, the senior guard connected on a fadeaway jumper to tie the game at 59-59. Jace Chatman missed a fallaway layup and the Tigers couldn’t get off a clean shot to end regulation.

“Brendan last year hit a bunch of game-winners for us; this year he’s hit a bunch of big shots for us,” BG coach Manny Melo said. “I have the utmost confidence in these guys to do their thing and they do a phenomenal job out there.”

The victory secures Battle Ground (13-9) its second straight regional appearance. The Tigers also advance to the bi-district semifinals against Kentwood (15-8), which beat Federal Way 65-63. That game will be played at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Mount Tahoma High School.

“Being all the way in now, we don’t have anything to worry about,” Perry said. “We can just play basketball.”

Alec Marshall paved the way for the Storm on Friday. He was 7 of 9 from 3-point range to score 21 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:55 remaining in regulation that gave Skyview a 59-57 lead. Sean Boss added 14 points, including a pair of lead-changing old-school three-point plays.

Northwest Nazarene signee Kyle Gruhler was limited to just 11 points. He also hauled in 11 rebounds and batted a way a Tiger pass at the end of regulation to deny an open shot. Johnson had five assists.

The Storm (16-7) play Mount Rainier (14-9) in a loser-out, winner-to-state contest at 5 p.m. Monday at Wilson High School.


BATTLE GROUND (13-9) — Max Ramirez 4, Cole Billingsley 0, Nate Millspaugh 8, Brendan Beall 19, Kaden Perry 38. Totals 27-58 (4-16) 11-11 69.

SKYVIEW (16-7) — Alec Marshall 21, Squeeky Johnson 4, Sean Boss 14, Kyle Gruhler 11, Jace Chatman 9, Cody McKinney 8. Totals 26-59 (10-30) 5-6 67.

B. Ground 17 13 18 11 10—69

Skyview 16 17 11 15 8—67

Columbian sports reporter