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May 15, 2021

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Skyview boys advance to Tacoma Dome with 66-56 win over Jackson

Gruhler scores 22 for Storm, Johnson has 20

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
10 Photos
Skyview’s Kyle Gruhler (23) hangs on the rim after finishing.a dunk at Battle Ground High School on Saturday evening, Feb. 29, 2020.
Skyview’s Kyle Gruhler (23) hangs on the rim after finishing.a dunk at Battle Ground High School on Saturday evening, Feb. 29, 2020. (Zach Wilkinson/for The Columbian) Photo Gallery

BATTLE GROUND — The Skyview boys basketball team is headed back on the road.

And that’s perfectly fine with the Storm, even if they hit a couple of bumps along the way.

After a slow start, the Storm caught fire in the second half to beat Jackson of Mill Creek 66-56 on Saturday in the regional round of the Class 4A state tournament.

Skyview (18-9), the No. 11 seed, will face the loser of Mount Si-West Valley of Yakima in another loser-out game in the round-of-12 at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday at the Tacoma Dome.

The Storm, which entered Saturday’s game having lost three of their last four, used an 18-0 run in the second half to open a 47-35 lead.

“We hit a couple of shots,” senior Kyle Gruhler said. “They’re a great team. They play with great pressure. Their zone, we really struggled with it the whole game. Luckily, we hit some shots, got some momentum and we were able to build on that.”

After trailing most of the first 2.5 quarters, Skyview got back-to-back 3-pointers from Squeeky Johnson and Gruhler to give the Storm a 35-33 lead.

Sean Boss’ 3-pointer and Jace Chatman’s 3-point play capped the run with the Storm ahead 47-33 early in the fourth quarter.

“I just told them to keep doing what we know we can do,” Skyview coach Matt Gruhler said. “We knew that Jackson has been in a lot of games that we saw on film, and they never die. So we had to be sharp until the horn went off. And I thought we did a pretty good job of that.”

The Timberwolves twice cut the deficit to six, but the Storm would not let them get closer.

Johnson had 20 points for the Storm, and Chatman added 16 points. Gruhler led the team with 22 points, although he didn’t get his first field goal until midway through the second quarter as Jackson’s athletic post players kept him in check.

Then he took some advice from his father/coach.

“He told to just relax, pump fake, use my smarts a little bit,” Kyle Gruhler said. “It took me a minute. I got blocked a couple of times early, but I finally figured it out.”

It’s been a season of adjustments for the Storm, after they finished third in the 4A Greater St. Helens League, had to play a pigtail game to get into the bi-district tournament, then played six games in 11 days to get into the regional round of state, logging more than 1,200 miles on the bus.

“It was three hours on the bus,” Kyle Gruhler said of those trips to play bi-district games. “It’s tough on the body, but you really start to get to know each other. It’s been fun. This is one of my favorite teams I’ve played with. I’m just excited to keep it going.”

Next up for the Storm, a trip Wednesday to the Tacoma Dome.

“I think we’re going to rent some cars this time,” Matt Gruhler said. “I’ve had enough with the bus.”


JACKSON (15-11) — Nick Sysum 6, Carter Korab 0, Jesse Holby 10, Jaylen Searles 13, Clay Cortright  2, Cooper Smith 0, Dominic Hellman 6, Bryston Galbert 11, Drillon Veliu 8. Totals 23 (3) 7-9 56

SKYVIEW (18-9) – Alec Marshall 0, Squeeky Johnson 20, Sean Boss 3, Kyle Gruhler 22, Jace Chatman 16, Cody McKinney 5. Totals 20 (7) 19-33 66.

Jackson                14           8              11           23–56

Skyview               10           9              19           28–66