Skyview High School basketball coach Matt Gruhler had one goal in mind when he took his team on the road for a winter break tournament: play against some strong Class 4A competition.
They played — and won — as the Storm of Vancouver beat Thomas Jefferson 59-55 in the title game of the Thomas Jefferson Boys Basketball Holiday Tournament on Tuesday night.
“That was a really intense game,” Gruhler said. “Those are two teams destined for the playoffs coming up this year … It felt like a playoff game.”
Jefferson (6-3) opened scoring with a 3-pointer by junior forward Alex Sommerfield and quickly built a 12-5 lead before ending the first half 27-all.
The Raiders’ early run was orchestrated by senior guard Will Osborn, who tallied five 3-pointers.
“I just let the game come to me,” Osborn said. “When I’m hot, my team tries to get me going.”
Skyview senior forward Marcus Lord, who scored a game-high 20 points, said they discussed being more aggressive during halftime, and came back with a renewed focus on shutting Osborn down.
“No one else on the team was hitting from deep,” he said. “Once we were able to stop (Osborn), there was no way they were going to score from outside.”
Jefferson coach Kyle Templeton said that his players were outmatched by a big, physical Skyview (6-2) team.
“I thought we both played hard and we shot the ball pretty well, but we just couldn’t handle them physically being short-handed,” he said, adding that senior guard James Fitch did not play.
Jefferson led 51-49 when junior wing Tyson Sonnenfeld fouled Lord, sending him to the free-throw line and giving the Storm a burst of momentum.
Skyview got the ball back quickly and pulled ahead as Lord made a layup and then another free throw after being fouled by Sommerfield.
“We had a couple of big free throws down the stretch,” Gruhler said. “We were able to slow things down and get what we wanted — and we were able to convert.”
Jefferson tied the game for the last time, 53-all, on a layup by senior guard Lonyae Jones, but Lord scored on the ensuing possession, and an overthrown ball by Jefferson then resulted in junior Mason Scheidel quickly converting on a reverse layup.
Junior forward Darius Anderson missed a 3-pointer for Jefferson as the clock ran out. He finished the night with 10 points.
Earlier, Fife finished third in the tournament with a win over Graham-Kapowsin.