Battle Ground boys battle hard for 75-67 victory over Union

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For years, the Union boys basketball team has dominated the Greater St. Helens League 4A division. But that shifted on Friday, Dec. 16, as the Battle Ground Tigers secured their first league win of the season with a 75-67 victory over the Titans, led by Tait Spencer’s game high of 33 points.

Battle Ground continued to win the free throw game, receiving 15 chances, and drilling all of them during the contest. 

Senior Noah Currie’s biggest moment of the game came with 5:30 left in the fourth. Currie was fouled as he took a three and was able to hit all three at the charity stripe putting the Tigers ahead 63-57. Union also had 15 chances at the line but only converted nine. 

The defense for the Battle Ground Tigers continued to be a problem for their opponents, causing frustration for both Union’s players and coaches.

The Tigers defense caused many turnovers, loose ball situations, and bad shots for Union. In the first quarter, the Tigers’ defense did a great job at forcing Union to the bottom of the shot clock. In the second half, Battle Ground dominated Union in defensive rebounds leading to a great offensive display. Battle Ground was able to stop second chances and outscore Union 37-25 in the second half. 

Tait Spencer was Battle Ground’s star during the game, but his brother Trey Spencer played a great role as well. On offense, Trey Spencer snuck behind the defense for points in the paint and created his own shots with the ball, securing 14 points.

“Having Trey playing off ball, he had to be there to be able to read at the right time and help when needed,” Battle Ground’s head coach Kevin Kalian said. “He came up big on that backside. The biggest thing is it took all five guys to play defense tonight and be on the same page.” 



The victory for the Tigers was brewing at halftime while Union led 42-38. One of Battle Ground’s biggest supporters, Ben Lemons, hyped up the crowd while dressed in holiday spirit. His positive mood and excitement for BGHS sports lifted the atmosphere for the crowd and team. The crowd kept the energy up during the second half as they cheered loudly and made it difficult  for Union to concentrate during free throws. 

When the clock hit zero, the student section stormed the court at Battle Ground’s gym, known as The Cage, and parents jumped up and down in excitement while the teams shook hands after their hard fought battle. 

“You got to give credit to Union. They’ve been dominant for years,”  Kalian said. “I was telling the boys that this was an opportunity if we wanted to make a name for ourselves. You gotta beat really good teams like Union. I’ve been telling them the last few days, this is a good opportunity to get 1-0 in league right off the bat, but you gotta want it. Union’s not just going to give it to us, so you got to work for it, and we did. We earned it hard, we played hard, we went after the ball, we hit big shots. But credit to Union, man, they’re a good team and a good program.”

Maxpreps had Union ranked third overall in the 4A class before Friday night’s game. Battle Ground has been unranked so far this season and sat at 4-1 after knocking off the Titans. Union was 3-3 on the year. 

Battle Ground was led with Tait Spencer’s 33 points, Currie’s 17 points, Trey Spencer’s 14 points, Austin Ralphs’ seven points, and Ty Robertson’s four points. 

The Union Titans were led by Yanni Fassilis’ 24 points, Evan Manville’s 14 points, Kody Holcomb’s 12 points, Samair Thompson’s seven points, Tucker Dunseth’s five points, Paxton Heitsch’s three points and Grayson Stanley’s two points.

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