Monday, March 20, 2023
March 20, 2023

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Defense leads Skyview boys to win over Battle Ground

Storm, Tigers and Camas tied for second in 4A GSHL

By , Columbian sports reporter

The Skyview Storm are back on track.

Fresh off a road trip in which it lost three of four games, Skyview boys basketball needed a reset. The Storm still controlled their postseason fate, but to keep it that way they had to grind to a 49-42 win over Battle Ground on Friday in the Storm Cellar.

Any win over the Kaden Perry-led Tigers starts on defense. And the Storm used a week off from its last game against Heritage — a 75-65 win — to gameplan for exactly that.

Cody McKinney and Kyle Gruhler drew the assignment Friday, tasked with fronting, denying and doubling the Gonzaga commit every possession.

“We spent six days of practice just working on doubling the post, doubling on rebounds,” Gruhler said. “He’s one of those players you need to take a whole week of practice.”

Perry finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks. He had just two offensive rebounds as the Storm controlled the glass to a 33-26 advantage, led by Gruhler’s 10.

“We just made it tough on him and forced guys to make as many tough shots as possible,” Skyview coach Matt Gruhler said. “And then just make sure to box him out. That’s the key to slowing down Kaden Perry.”

Skyview’s efforts were not unaided, of course. Perry tallied three fouls in the opening 10 minutes of the game and missed 5 minutes, 11 seconds of the second quarter.

Seeing an opportunity, particularly when Battle Ground sharpshooter Brendan Beall also departed with three fouls, the Storm took advantage. Skyview outscored Battle Ground 14-2 in the final 4:27 of the first half to take a commanding 29-18 lead.

“All our guys are basketball guys who have been around the game a long time,” coach Gruhler said. “They knew that the toughest part of scoring against Battle Ground is going up against a 6-foot-9 guy that can jump out of the gym. So if he’s not there, we have to take advantage of that.”

Kyle Gruhler had five of his game-high 16 points in that span, including a vicious dunk off a post cut with 1:40 remaining.

Battle Ground, with Perry back for the final 16 minutes, clawed back to make it a one-possession game with 3:27 remaining in the fourth quarter. Perry had 11 points and seven blocks in the second half. The Tigers were in the midst of an 8-0 run to cut it to 41-38 when Jace Chatman delivered a momentum-killing blow.

Chatman hit a transition 3-pointer with 2:58 remaining and Squeeky Johnson followed it up with a corner 3 to make it 47-38 with 2:28 left. The two were a combined 2 for 19 from the field up to that point.

“They have the biggest green light on the team,” Kyle Gruhler said of Chatman and Johnson. “They don’t have bad misses. They’re too good of shooters and we know that. We have all the faith in them.”

Chatman and Johnson each finished with nine points. Johnson also added four assists, as did Alec Marshall. Sean Boss had three steals.

Battle Ground got 12 points from Nate Millspaugh, who also had five assists, and eight points from Beall.

The Storm (13-5, 3-3) victory now makes it a three-way tie for second-place in the 4A Greater St. Helens League with Battle Ground (9-9, 3-3) and Camas (7-11, 3-3). Only three teams qualify for the postseason. Skyview and Camas play Monday. Battle Ground plays Camas on Wednesday.


BATTLE GROUND — Max Ramirez 4, Cole Billingsley 3, Nate MIllspaugh 12, Brendan ball 8, Kaden Perry 13, Brian Weeks 0, Jake Kostman 2. Totals 18-52 (5-18) 1-4 42.

SKYVIEW — Squeeky Johnson 9, Xavier Owens 2, Sean Boss 0, Cole Bain 2, Alec Marshall 3, Kyle Gruhler 16, Jace Chatman 9, Cody McKinney 6. Totals 17-51 (6-22) 9-10 49.

B. Ground 8 10 10 14—42

Skyview 10 19 10 10—49

Columbian sports reporter