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Sim-ply great

Sunset senior Garrett Sim rips through Battle Ground for 37 points
by: MILES VANCE, IT’S MINE — Sunset sophomore guard Tony Holton stretches for a loose ball during his team’s 90-80 win over Battle Ground on Friday night.

CEDAR MILL - It had been a long time since Sunset's boys basketball team had been on the court, and an even longer time since the Apollos had played on their home court, so on Friday, Sunset was only too happy to get back in the groove.

The Apollos, hosting Battle Ground, Wash., in a non-league contest, racked up a 90-80 victory on Friday to win for the fourth straight time and improve to 11-2 overall, and they did it behind the two-headed beast of senior guard Garrett Sim and senior forward Phil Campbell. Together, the duo combined for 57 of their team's 90 points, with Sim pouring in 37 and Campbell adding 20 more in the victory.

'We had a week off so it was a little weird getting back into this one, and it was the first home game since last month, since November … but I thought we played pretty well,' said Sim, who made 10-of-22 shots from the floor (including three three-pointers) and 14-of-17 free throws.

'It was good to come out, get some practices in and get a game,' said Sunset coach Todd Sherwood, whose team was hosting its first game since Nov. 30. 'Our kids battled back. They made them shoot contested shots in the second half and we were able to execute.'

Indeed they were. The Tigers (5-6) stayed close throughout the first half, thanks in great part to the sharp shooting efforts of senior guard Kyle Kromminga, who hit 7-of-8 three-pointers in the game and finished with 30 points. Kromminga had eight of his 30, including two 'threes,' in the second quarter to keep the Tigers within 41-37 at halftime.

But the Apollos turned up the heat in the third period, shredded the Tiger press for a 23-13 scoring edge and never looked back. Sim had a 'three' and seven points in the quarter, and Campbell broke loose for 10 in the period, most of those on assists from Sim.

'It was just the ball movement, getting it up court quick so they couldn't trap us,' Campbell said. 'I just got it right under the hoop, which was pretty nice.'

Nice indeed. Campbell, who hit 9-of-10 shots from the field and both his foul shots in the game, used that ball movement and crisp passing to create a third quarter worth remembering. He knocked down five of his six shots in the period and scored 10 of his 20 points - all on shots from six feet or closer.

The Tigers didn't go down easily, though. Trailing 64-50 entering the final quarter, the Tigers knocked down five 'threes' in the final stanza - three by Kromminga and two by Jeremy Rohrer - and cut Sunset's lead to eight points four different times, but got no closer than that thanks to Sunset's marksmanship from the foul line. Sim knocked down 13-of-16 foul shots in that final period and Campbell tacked on three additional field goals for six more points to seal the win.

'I thought we did really good handling the pressure down the stretch and hitting free throws, just keeping them at a distance and not letting them get too close,' Sim said.

Sherwood, meanwhile, left with even greater praise for the Cal Berkeley-bound Sim, who also handed out 11 assists on the night.

'Garrett, in my opinion, in the state he's underrated and undervalued,' Sherwood said. 'Everyone talks about (Oregon City's Brad Tinsley and South Medford's Michael Harthun) and they don't realize just how good a natural basketball player and what a feel he has for the game offensively and defensively. He makes plays. He's just so smart. I don't think he gets the credit that's due to him.'

Sunset added a 109-30 rout of Heritage at Sunset High School on Tuesday for its fourth straight win, a victory that lifted its season record to 12-2. In that game, Sim went for 24 points, Michael Holton added 16, Greg Shepard had13 and Ryan Kroon 12.

In upcoming games, Sunset plays at Skyview, Wash., at 7 p.m. Friday, then opens Metro League play at home against Aloha at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18.