Storm still hoping to finish fourth in program’s first trip to state
TACOMA – The dream of a state championship is over now for the Skyview Storm.
The opportunity to earn a trophy at the Class 4A state boys basketball tournament is still very real.
Gonzaga Prep proved to be too much for the Storm in the second half of their quarterfinal matchup Thursday evening in the Tacoma Dome. Anton Watson had 24 points, 10 rebounds, and seven steals, leading the Bullpups to a 59-52 victory over the Storm.
“It was a hard-fought game. Just tried to give it our best effort,” said Skyview junior Alex Schumacher, who did exactly that by scoring 25 points in the loss. “Just tried to give them a run for their money.”
G-Prep is money this season. The Bullpups improved to 25-0, advancing to the championship semifinals.
Skyview fell to 24-5 and into the consolation semifinals. The Storm will take on Kamiak at 12:15 p.m. Friday. The winner is assured of bringing home a trophy Saturday.
“Flush out this game. Start over tomorrow,” Schumacher said. “Give a championship effort.”
Skyview coach Matt Gruhler described Thursday’s loss as that kind of an effort, too.
“As far as how hard we played, the effort, the energy, the heart, the belief in each other, all of that stuff was awesome,” Gruhler said. “We’re disappointed with the end result, but not disappointed at all with our players or our team. Our guys showed we can compete with anybody.”
Gonzaga Prep had two pushes in the first half to try to put away the Storm. Both times, Skyview responded.
Samaad Hector had seven of his 13 points in a 9-0 Skyview run to turn a 10-point deficit into a one-point game. The Bullpups would score the next eight, but then Skyview ended the first half with six in a row to make it a three-point game.
Gonzaga Prep ruled the third quarter, though, extending the margin to 13 going into the final eight minutes.
The lead grew to 15 early in the fourth, but the Storm had one more streak in them. Cole Grossman scored four in a row, including one via the dunk. Schumacher followed that with a three-point play to make it an eight-point game with 3:10 remaining.
After another stop on defense, the Storm were whistled for an offensive foul, taking away two more points. They missed a shot on their next possession, then Watson scored for the Bullpups to end the Skyview momentum.
While the team result bummed out the Storm, they could still celebrate an individual accomplishment. Schumacher said it felt good to have a 25-point game on such a stage. He was 9 for 18 from the floor and did not miss any of his seven shots from inside the arc.
“The whole team played well, but sometimes he’s the engine that makes us go,” Gruhler said. “It’s fun to watch him.”
Still, Schumacher and the Storm wanted more.
“I knew we were the underdogs,” he said. “That would have been a good win.”
This is Skyview’s first trip to the state tournament and the Tacoma Dome in program history. The Storm want a trophy, and they want some respect.
Schumacher said keeping up with Gonzaga Prep was an accomplishment.
“Just from this game, we definitely made a name for ourselves,” he said.
Now, though, they want to finish the season strong, with back-to-back wins to take fourth place.
“How are we going to bounce back quickly, regroup and refocus?” Gruhler asked. “That’s going to be the challenge.”