The Union girls basketball team had the vital answer.
In a game of big turns, a 15-point third quarter run for the Titans turned out to be the most significant on Friday as Union edged Camas 60-55 to advance to the Class 4A district championship game.
Union (15-6) will visit league champion Skyview (14-6) at 8 p.m. Saturday to play for the top seed into the bi-district playoffs. Camas (12-10) will enter the bi-district as a No. 3 seed.
“We’re excited. We hope we can come out with more fire (Saturday),” Union guard Tuileisu Anderson said after her eight-steal night helped spark the Titans.
The Titans had plenty of energy at the start of Friday’s district semifinal.
Anderson scored a pair of transition baskets off of steals in the first minute of play, and post Emily Rowe scored the next seven points as Union hustled to a 11-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.
But Union coach Roger Shepard figured a third win over Camas this season wouldn’t come easily. The Papermaker answer was a 12-2 spurt as post Sierra Brown scored three baskets and guard Brenna Khaw kick-started her 23-point game.
But the decisive burst came in the third quarter, as soon as Camas took its only lead of the night.
The Papermakers went up 35-33 when Brown scored inside with 4:54 on the third-quarter clock. Five seconds later, Union’s Kendra Preuninger hit a 3-pointer from the corner and the Titans were back on top to stay. Jessica Chatman, who paced Union with 15 points and also grabbed seven rebounds, followed with another 3-pointer.
Less than five minutes after Camas’ brief moment in the lead, Union was up 48-35.
“Just the energy from the bench and trusting each other,” Anderson said, explaining how the Titans regained momentum after Camas had gone in front.
It was also a matter of being smart in transition.
“We like to push the ball, but the key was stopping Camas because they like to transition, too,” Anderson said.
Still, Camas didn’t disappear. Led by posts Brown (who finished with 13 points) and Lauren Neff, the Papermakers kept pushing.
Another vital Preuninger 3-pointer — this one with the shot clock expiring at the midway point of the fourth quarter — put Union ahead by nine. Camas got as close as four points with just under a minute to play before the Titans hit six of eight foul shots to close out the game.
Anderson finished with 12 points, Union’s defense came up with 17 steals, and Rowe had a team-high nine rebounds.
“As far as enthusiasm for basketball, and as far as having our entire team contribute, it was probably our best performance of the year,” Shepard said.
UNION 60, CAMAS 55
CAMAS (12-10) — Paige Jackson 3, McKenna Jackson 0, Rachel Rice 5 Brenna Khaw 23, Lauren Neff 9, Kyla Sumpter 0, Kathryn Johnson 0, Nikki Corbett 2, Sierra Brown 13. Totals 20 (4) 11-18 55.
UNION (15-6) — Tessa Vanderpool 9, Tuileisu Anderson 12, Kendra Preuninger 6, Molly Petrie 0, Katie Burbank 3, Hannah O’Donnell 2, Katherine Williams 3, Jessica Chatman 15, Emily Rowe 10. Totals 20 (6) 14-20 60.
Camas 12 14 11 18–55
Union 16 13 20 11–6