TACOMA — The joyous celebration at center court by the Camas Papermakers symbolized a first.
No Camas girls basketball team had earned a state tournament trophy until Saturday when the Papermakers’ 49-45 victory over Richland secured the program the fourth-place hardware.
Not only was the celebratory mob of players and cheerleaders at center court after the postgame trophy ceremony a reflection of a 19-9 season that included setting three 4A state tournament records, but perhaps it was a peek into its future.
Sophomore Reagan Jamison called the win, the trophy, and the state tournament experience a statement piece for Camas.
“This showed the rest of the state who are,” she said, “and who we’re going to be in the future.”
Added sophomore Riley Sanz: “The years after this, we’re going to mature even more and handle more pressure and have more fun.”
And why not given how young — and already accomplished — the Papermakers are. The majority of the roster is underclassmen and during the back half of the postseason, head coach Scott Thompson inserted two freshmen — Keirra Thompson and Kendall Mairs — into the starting lineup.
Coach Thompson commended his team’s growth in play the past two weeks and in maturity. For much of the tournament, it didn’t look like a team full of first-timers playing in the Tacoma Dome, he said.
“They all showed up like mature players who’ve been here before, but they haven’t,” he said. “For me, the sky’s the limit for this team. They have so much potential to come back and make a great run.”
After setting two 4A tournament records in Friday’s consolation win, Camas added to its 4A tournament record for 3-pointers made with six Saturday to finish with 37 over four games. That’s good for second all-time across all classifications behind the 39 made by 2A Mark Morris in 2015. Camas also set a 4A tournament record for most 3s attempted (107).
Against the Bombers, Camas led by as many as 14 multiple times, including 44-30 the opening minute of the fourth quarter. That’s when Richland went on a 13-0 scoring run, and cut the Camas lead down to two twice: 45-43 then 47-45 inside 1 minute left.
Since a foot injury sidelined 4A Greater St. Helens League MVP Addison Harris two weeks ago, Jamison, the sophomore, carried much of the offensive load. She had 16 Saturday, including helping secure the win going 4 for 4 at the free-throw line the final 28.4 seconds when it was a one-possession game. She finished the tournament averaging a team-best 17.5 points per game.
Ava Smith added 12 points for Camas, and Kendall Mairs chipped in nine points and 15 rebounds.
Thompson said he never questioned what his team could accomplish, especially after Thursday’s quarterfinal loss to Sumner in overtime. That especially showed in the final two games.
“You don’t have to tell these girls to get up for a basketball game,” he said. “They’re focused as can be and ready to work every single day.
“This is where the pay off is.”
CAMAS 49, RICHLAND 45
RICHLAND — Sarah Utley 0, Paige Morrow 0, Macie Milum 18, Lexie Hay 0, Kylee Fox 15, Danica Lerch 5, Maya Rowe 4, Mackenzie Schulz 3. Totals 15 (4) 11-12 45.
CAMAS — Reagan Jamison 16, Kendall Mairs 9, Parkers Mairs 5, Anna Mooney 0, Sophie Buzzard 2, Riley Sanz 2, Ava Smith 12, Keirra Thompson 0. Totals 17 (6) 9-14 49.
Richland 11 6 13 15 — 45
Camas 18 7 17 7 — 49