CAMAS — When Camas girls basketball game took a 20-point lead out of the gate, it knew to not be deceived.
It’s Union, after all. The Papermakers expected more out of what they posed as their biggest threat in the 4A Greater St. Helens League.
And they were right. After it was all said and done, the Papermakers stood tall over the Titans with a 46-44 win at home on Tuesday night.
But not before Camas (7-6, 2-0 4A GSHL) saw its 20-0 lead slowly chipped away over three quarters, and the Titans’ confidence steadily build as the shots started to fall.
The Papermakers have some blowouts under their belt. But they knew this big lead wouldn’t last.
“Are we 20 points better than Union? No, we’re not,” Camas coach Scott Preuninger said. “In quarters two through four they outscored us by 18 points. Are they 18 points better than us? I don’t think so. It’s obviously somewhere in between.”
Union’s Mason Oberg sunk two free throws to bring the Titans within two with 19.9 seconds left.
Then Camas missed the front end of a one-and-one, and with 12.6 seconds left, Union grabbed the rebound. But when the Titans went to inbound, Camas’ Jillian Webb poked the ball loose at half court as Union tried to set up a final play. Oberg fell on the ball and the Titans called time with 5 seconds left — but the defensive play served as a successful clock-eating tactic.
Union inbounded the ball and got off an open look at a game-winning three from the right side, but it missed long as the final horn sounded.
Webb led the Papermakers with 11 points and Courtney Clemmer added 10 points and a key presence on the glass. Oberg led the Titans with 12 points, and Mackenzie Lewis scored 10.
Webb hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter (Camas’ four 3s of the game all came in the first) and the Papermakers pressed past half court on defensive, which hurt Union’s shot quality.
But once Union started finding its rhythm offensively in the second quarter, the Papermakers’ shooting went by the wayside, eliminating its ability to set up its press after a made basket.
“They weren’t hitting anything in the beginning, so we weren’t super worried about shooters,” Webb said. Then all of a sudden they were hitting everything. At the end of the game we just buckled down and decided they aren’t going to do this to us anymore.”
Clemmer said: “That’s kind of how basketball works. You let off of people and they’re going to start shooting. … we just got back on them and hoped that we could stop them.”
Union chipped away at the lead in the third quarter, eventually cutting it to four points with just over two minutes left. Raymore hit two 3-pointers — and assisted on a third to Courtney Cranston — as a part of a 9-0 run, after which Camas took a timeout up just 33-29.
“We definitely struggled with playing as hard as we did (in the first),” Webb said. “You could see our team was tired, our legs were Jell-O, but we pushed through.”
Camas responded by scoring seven-straight points, capped by a 3-pointer from Clemmer to reclaim an 11-point lead after three quarters.
But Union didn’t go away.
Cranston hit two 3s early in the fourth to help the Titans stay within reach.
“They got so hot,” Webb said. “Every time they put something up, I was like, ‘oh no.’ They made us compete, which is awesome, it’s what we love.”
With the win Camas moves to 2-0 in league and bumps over .500 on the season. Union, who started 10-2, was listed as the No. 17 team in 4A in the WIAA’s RPI ranking — one spot above Camas — before the two played Tuesday night.
Camas will host Battle Ground while Union is set to host Heritage on Friday.
CAMAS 46, UNION 44
UNION — Alexis Raymore 6, Mason Oberg 12, Toryi Midland 4, Rebekah Barney 4, Abbey Kaip 0, Mackenzie Lewis 10, Courtney Cranston 8. 15 (7) 7-8 44.
CAMAS — Jordyn Wilds 3, Jillian Webb 11, Haley Hanson 4, Marianna Payne 8, Maggie Wells 6, Jalena Carlisle 0, Courtney Clemmer 10. 15 (4) 10-20 46.
Union 0 13 16 15–44
Camas 20 9 11 6–46