Storm and Titans are co-champions and will play seeding tiebreaker Friday night
The Skyview Storm won their first league championship in boys basketball since 2010.
The Union Titans won their seventh consecutive league title.
Oh, and they play in the same league.
Skyview and Union are co-champions of the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League. The two teams will square off again Friday in an important seeding tiebreaker, but regardless of the outcome, the Storm and the Titans are co-champions.
“All the work we put in every day has paid off,” said Skyview’s Samaad Hector. “We knew we could accomplish this.”
Skyview pulled away late in the second quarter and never looked back Wednesday night, defeating Heritage 77-47 to complete a 7-1 league record.
“Coach tells us every day to have the championship mentality,” Skyview’s Alex Schumacher said. “Just focus.”
The Storm scored the first 11 points of the game and never trailed. Heritage played tough for most of the rest of the half, but Skyview ended the the second quarter on a 9-0 run for a 14-point lead.
Schumacher scored 16 points in the win. Hector had 12 rebounds. The Skyview starters did not play in the fourth quarter.
“It was just really fun,” Hector said, watching the reserves put up 26 more points in the final period. “Everyone was making shots. It just got the rest of the team going. We just got hyped.”
The Storm had a league championship to celebrate, after all.
Of course, the Union Titans were in celebration mode, too. For the third time this season and second game in a row, the Titans made 15 3-pointers. On this night, it was a barrage of buckets against Battle Ground in what turned into a 99-58 victory.
Ethan Smith made seven 3-pointers and Zach Reznick added four from long range. Smith and Tyler Combs each scored 25 points as the Titans finished 7-1 in league play.
Union coach Blake Conley noted how tough the league was this year, describing Skyview as an excellent team.
“For us to be there, that’s a great honor as well,” he said.
This was not the “sure thing” team of the past. Union has been a constant at the state tournament in recent years, but this squad had more question marks going into the season than in previous campaigns.
Seasoned veterans Combs and Reznick led the way and a couple new faces — Smith and Jason Franklin Jr. — made names for themselves.
“The thing with this team,” Conley noted, “is the growth from the beginning of the year until now.”
Skyview beat Union in the first of two matchups. Union got the Storm the second go-round.
“For us to lose that first league game, then to battle back, that showed a lot of heart,” Conley said. “We’re playing our best basketball right now.”
The Storm, too, feel good heading into February. A year ago, Skyview took second place in the 4A GSHL but struggled in the bi-district tournament and failed to qualify for state.
“We are excited about what we’ve accomplished,” Skyview coach Matt Gruhler said Wednesday. “But the guys are so focused on coming back to practice tomorrow, then coming out Friday and giving our best effort in the playoffs.”
Friday’s tiebreaker, at Evergreen High School, is important. The winner will get a home game to open the bi-district tournament, while the loser will be on the road for all of bi-district. Still, it remains just a tiebreaker. Skyview and Union are both league champions.
“We’re going to take pride and put the banner up,” Gruhler said. “We only had two in school history. That motivated the guys in the offseason. It’s been a goal. Do something special.”
4A GSHL tiebreakers
The Union-Skyview game will be the second tiebreaker of the night at Evergreen. Camas and Battle Ground tied for third place and split the season series. The Papermakers and Tigers will play at 5 p.m. for the third and final playoff berth from the 4A GSHL. Union and Skyview will follow.