CAMAS — How big are the “bigs” for Camas’ girls basketball team in terms of team success?
“They’re what wins us games,” shooting guard Haylie Johnson said. “Their offensive rebounds, putbacks, defensive box-outs is what makes us win. Without them, we couldn’t do it.”
It’s been that way through the Papermakers stiff non-league slate of games, and was so in a big way for Tuesday’s 4A Greater St. Helens League opener, which Camas won 52-44 over Union.
It was both teams’ league opener, but it didn’t feel like it at any point of the 32 minutes.
Head coach Scott Thompson compared the home court atmosphere like to a winner-to-state game.
While Camas led from the start, there never was a comfortable lead throughout. Not even when Union cut it to two possessions and using its second-half outside shooting to cut the deficit to four. But Camas’ interior play set the tone early and often and a big part of that was 6-foot-2 post Faith Bergstrom.
The Titans threw multiple looks at the junior, but Bergstrom put the Papermakers on her shoulders all night. She finished with 24 points and 17 rebounds.
Bergstrom is Camas’ leading scorer who already has a number of double-double games, but Thompson said Bergstrom played at another level Tuesday.
“It felt like there was something inside of her that wanted to win this game more than anything I’ve seen before out of her,” he said.
A lot of that had to do with her efficiency down low. She scored her team’s first 10 points and had a near-double-double by halftime. Of her 17 rebounds, six came on the offensive glass.
Bergstrom admits her competitive fire took over. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a league opener and against Camas’ top rival, too.
“Sometimes, you just feel it,” Bergstrom said. “I was just feeling it tonight. It was a good atmosphere with everybody there and everybody was hyped up.”
Camas’ cushion was 28-24 at halftime, but a third quarter full-court trap by the Papermakers played a part in seven turners that quarter by Union. All the while, the lead bloomed to 38-30 entering the final quarter.
Behind its outside shooting, Union stayed close. Senior point guard Mason Oberg (19 points) had two of her four 3-pointers over a 3-minute stretch, and the latter cut it to 45-41 with 3:51 left in the game.
But Camas’ outside shooting heated up, too. Johnson, a starting 2-guard, had seven of her 10 points in the final 8 minutes and her final 3-pointer foul-line extended gave Camas a 48-41 lead with 2:44 to play.
Abbey Kaip added nine points for Union and Katelynn Forner led Camas in assists with six.
In the end, a little bit of everything led to a big Camas win.
“Union is the one to beat, always,” Johnson said. “We couldn’t have done it without our team work. We’ve been grinding so hard and working so hard for everything we get.”
CAMAS 52, UNION 44
UNION — Lexi Raymore 5, Olivia Euverman 0, Mason Oberg 19, Lolo Weatherspoon 5, Abbey Kaip 9, Kaneyl Carpenter 0, Mackenzie Lewis 4, Sara Litchfield 0. Totals 14 (6) 9-14 44.
CAMAS — Haylie Johnson 10, Emma Rehrer 0, Katelynn Forner 2, Anna Mooney 5, Emma Sanz 0, Avery Minich 0, Faith Bergstrom 24, Jalena Carlisle 7, Kyra Seggewiss 0, Ashley Bauer 4. Totals 18 (4) 12-16 52.
Union 8 16 6 13—44
Camas 10 18 10 14—52