Battle Ground ousts Puyallup from postseason

BASKETBALL: Vikings' two seniors lead team one final time before they're eliminated

of the HeraldFebruary 26, 2014 

Puyallup High School senior guard Nick Gutierrez scored a team-high 20 points, but the Battle Ground Tigers beat the Vikings 73-65 on Feb. 18 during the bi-district tournament at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma.

LEE GILES III/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The Battle Ground Tigers knocked the Puyallup Vikings out of the West Central/Southwest 4A bi-district playoffs last week, but Puyallup head coach Scott Campbell focused on the journey just hours after the 73-65 loss on Feb. 18 at Mount Tahoma High School.

“The finality of losing that last game is always tough because everybody is working hard, and the expectations and the hopes are that you are going to win and play another game,” Campbell said. “I’m really proud of this group of kids, They competed and battled and continued to improve throughout the season. We made it pretty deep into the district tournament and made a great run. This is a really close team, and they did a great job.”

It was the first time Puyallup had advanced to the district tournament since they reached the state level in 2011.

“It was really good for us to get back into the mix,” Campbell said. “It’s been three years, and a lot of hard work has gone into it. It is something our guys can be proud of.”

Campbell said it will be tough to say goodbye to seniors Nick Gutierrez and DJ Winter, but the team will return three juniors and five sophomores next season.

Gutierrez scored a team-high 20 points and Winter added 17 against Battle Ground.

“Both of those kids have played three years of varsity basketball,” Campbell said. “They are both great basketball players and are even better people off the basketball court.

“We, as coaches, always say your team will go as your seniors go. They really led the way this year for us. They were a great representation of that philosophy.”

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