Battle Ground escapes late storm, surges to 71-69 win


Battle Ground entered its game against Skyview (6-2) on Tuesday, Jan. 3, with an 8-1 record, and secured a 71-69 win.

Trey Spencer started off early with his usual disrupting defense as he secured two three-pointers and finished the game with eight points.

Each game of basketball can be anyone’s night to step up and Ty Robertson did just that as he hit five massive threes off of assists and had a game total of 17 points.

Noah Currie hit two mid-range shots for a game total of four points, while Austin Ralphs used his 6-foot-6 frame to get tough rebounds and aggressive buckets in the paint with eight points. And the way the season is going, it was no surprise that Tait Spencer had a good game. He secured 13 points in the first half and ignited an inner flame in the second half as he went off for 21 and earned a game total of 34 points.

Skyview’s Demaree Collins may have had the play of the game when he went up and over a Tiger play for an alley-oop dunk with 2:18 left in the first quarter. That momentous play did not stick for the Skyview Storm though. At the buzzer of the first quarter as the Tigers were down 18-14, Robertson had a Zion Williamson-like block on a corner three attempt by the Storm’s Javen Fletch. Battle Ground gained the lead in the second quarter and did not look back.

League play is never easy in the 4A Greater St. Helens League. Battle Ground has played the role of underdog this season as they have fought up the ranks. Last year, the Tigers ended with a 0-6 league play record. After two league games against opponents this season, they sat at 2-0 in league play last week and have brought forth a different level of intensity.

“I’m so proud of these boys for fighting,” Battle Ground Head Coach Kevin Kalian said. “We don’t lack heart, we have strong heart, we have high energy right now. They’ve been playing so well. We’re on an eight game win streak right now. They’re playing for each other. It took all 14 guys on the team right now to earn this 2-0. I’m just so proud of them right now.”

The level of intensity has also been noticed by others. A fan came up to Kalian after the game and told him the Tigers are his favorite high school and college level team to watch.

The Tigers’ starting five players have clicked and played their roles on both sides of the ball. After Tuesday night’s game and through 10 games, Battle Ground sat at a 9-1 start for the season.

The Tigers are now ranked seventh in Washington’s 4A class by MaxPreps and 10th by The Associated Press.

Tait Spencer is the state’s top scorer with 36.4 points per game this season. The team has shot 37% from the three. The high school national average is 29%.

Free throws for the Tigers have been a huge story all season as the team has shot 75% from the charity stripe, compared to a national average of 59%. Even their two-point field goal percentage is above the national average with the team making 56% of their two pointers, compared to the nation’s 47%.

“It feels great, obviously with the Unions, Skyviews, and Camas, they’ve been dominant,” Kalian said. “They’ve had great players going through their programs. We had Kaden Perry back in those years, another great player. It’s just a tough league, all four of those teams top and down. But these boys, we set a goal this year to really challenge Union, Skyview, Camas, to really make a name for ourselves and put Battle Ground back in that mix and they’ve done it these first two league games.”

The Jan. 3 game followed a win by Battle Ground at the Fort Bracket of the Fort Vancouver Holiday Invitational, which was led by a 46 point effort by Tait Spencer.

Tait Spencer was awarded Co-MVP of the Fort Bracket and Trey Spencer was featured on the All-Tourney Team. The Tigers won three straight and took down Kamiak High School, 91-87, for the tournament title.

Battle Ground continued league play away at Camas on Thursday, Jan. 5.


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