BATTLE GROUND — What did the Battle Ground boys basketball team learn most from its 53-45 victory over Skyview, 4A’s No. 5-ranked RPI team, on Tuesday night?
That this game, this performance — one that snapped the Tigers’ five-game losing skid dating back to Dec. 20 — is what they’ve capable of all season.
“This shows how close of a group we are,” senior guard Brendan Beall said. “I feel like we played 32 minutes of passionate basketball.”
And that was something Beall said has been missing in recent games. The senior scored 16 points and was one of three Tigers to reach double figures. Kaden Perry led all scorers with 24 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks. Nate Millspaugh added 11.
Before Tuesday, Battle Ground’s last win came in a non-league home victory over rival Prairie. The Tigers then had four games in the prestigious Les Schwab Invitational before opening 4A Greater St. Helens League play last Friday against top-ranked and undefeated Union.
A players-only meeting took place before Tuesday, Beall said, and that seemed to light a fire under the Tigers. The message: this game became a must-win. In a league featuring just eight games, a loss means so much, but a win means more.
“We had this high expectation coming into league,” the guard said. “We knew that we haven’t been playing to our ceiling, but tonight shows that we can still compete even if we have a .500 record.
What the Tigers saw Tuesday, Beall said, was heart, determination, and a full 32-minute effort on both ends of the floor.
If not for a slow start when Skyview (11-3, 1-1) raced out to a quick 12-2 lead, Battle Ground (7-7, 1-1) did a little bit of everything from shutting down the Storm after the first quarter along the perimeter to finding its flow on offense.
Battle Ground’s never trailed after taking a 19-17 lead with 2:21 left in the second quarter on a Perry putback.
That was part of a 17-4 run over the final five minutes of the half and fueled them the rest of the way.
Skyview (11-3, 1-1) didn’t have a second-quarter field goal; all three points came on free throws.
Skyview got as close as 39-37 behind Squeeky Johnson, who had seven of his 10 points to open the fourth quarter. That’s as close as the Storm got, as a mini 8-0 run by Perry and Beall made it 47-39.
After hitting three of his first four 3-pointers, Storm leading scorer Kyle Gruhler didn’t have a field goal the final three quarters. He finished with 13 points.
The 45 points is the third-least points Battle Ground has allowed an opponent. Beall knows what a performance like this can do moving forward against Heritage on Friday.
“If we play 32 minutes, all out, we can hold any team to low numbers like that,” he said.
BATTLE GROUND 53, SKYVIEW 45
SKYVIEW — Mehkai Brooks 0, Squeeky Johnson 10, Xavier Owens 0, Sean Boss 0, David Sheppert 0, Cole Bain 7, Kyle Gruhler 13, Alec Marshall 4, Jace Chatman 5, Cody McKinney 6. Totals 16 (5) 8-13 45
BATTLE GROUND — Bishop Straube 0, Max Ramirez 2, Cole Billingsley 0, Nate Millspaugh 11, Kaden Perry 24, Brendan Beall 16, Jake Kostman 0. Totals 22 (2) 7-8 53.
Skyview 14 7 3 21—45
B. Ground 8 17 12 16—53