BATTLE GROUND — Cameron Cranston was just doing what felt natural.
When you’ve been shooting a basketball since age 3, making buckets is almost second-nature.
Cranston scored 28 points to lead Union to a 75-50 win over Enumclaw in a 4A state tournament seeding game Saturday at Battle Ground High School.
He scored at the rim. He scored from outside. But Cranston said there was nothing complicated about his approach.
“Just doing what I’ve been doing the last 15 years of my life,” he said. “Just shooting.”
Union (20-4) had already clinched a trip to Tacoma by virtue of its No. 1 ranking in the RPI system used to seed the state tournament.
With Saturday’s win, Union now gets to bypass Wednesday’s loser-out games at the Tacoma Dome. The Titans will play Thursday against the winner of No. 7 Glacier Peak and No. 10 Kennedy Catholic in the quarterfinals.
Whoever they play, the Titans will head to Tacoma with plenty of confidence.
“It’s a good win for us going into the Dome,” junior guard Zach Reznick said. “I think we’re ready for whoever we play next. We’ll use this momentum to carry us forward.”
For Union, Saturday’s win was all about setting a tone for Tacoma. Cranston set it early, scoring nine points in the first quarter as Union took a 19-16 lead.
Union pulled away when Cranston’s cavalry arrived. Keithen Shepard and Tyler Combs each scored five points in the second quarter, which ended with Union up 40-27.
Union extended its lead further in the second half. After scoring 12 straight points to open the fourth quarter, the Titans led 70-37 over a team that entered Saturday 15-10 and ranked No. 11 in the RPI.
A two-time 4A Greater St. Helens League MVP, Cranston has shown he can take over a game. But Union is especially dangerous on days like Saturday, when Shepard (13 points), Combs (10 points) and Reznick (8 points) are all scoring.
“We can all attack the rim and shoot,” Reznick said. “That takes pressure off Cam because teams mainly focus on him. … He does his thing, we do our thing and it just clicks.”
Cranston will be making his third trip to the Tacoma Dome, where Union placed third in 2015 and fourth last year.
“It’s always fun,” he said. “To reach the highest peak of Washington high school basketball is a really great thing. I’ll just enjoy every second of it.”
And Saturday’s convincing win has Cranston believing his senior season will end on a high note.
“These last couple of games we’ve been playing really well,” Cranston said. “Just keeping the momentum alive going into the dome, it’s just a really good feeling.”
UNION 75, ENUMCLAW 50
Enumclaw – Kaden Anderson 6, Griffin Webb 12, Kale Engebretsen 6, Bryson Engebretsen 0, Cooper McCullough 3, Peter Erickson 12, Jacob Revell 6, Connery McLaughlin 3, Josh Brown 0, Keegan Ulrich 0, Dalton Desjardins 2. Totals 19 (9) 3-6 50.
Union – Keithen Shepard 13, Zach Reznick 8, Tyler Combs 10, Quinn Lamey 2, Austin Lewis 4, Jalen Brown 0, Kai Gamble 4, Cameron Cranston 28, Justin Ongley 0, Jason Franklin 6, Cole Susee 0, Aiden Nellor 0. Totals 30 (11) 4-8 75.
Enumclaw 16 11 10 13–50
Union 19 21 18 17–75