CAMAS — In the span of the past few weeks, the Camas girls basketball team has won practically every way imaginable.
The latest one, a 63-52 win over rival Union in a key 4A Greater St. Helens League matchup, tested the Papermakers after they built an 18-point halftime lead and saw it whittled down to five as the Titans drained eight 3-pointers in the third quarter.
And yet, Camas head coach Scott Thompson didn’t feel compelled to call a timeout and stop momentum right away. He wanted his team to play through it, and believed they could.
In the end, it could be another valuable experience for the No. 1-ranked Class 4A team in Washington.
“This is still a very young team, and I want to see them be able to fight through it,” Thompson said. “I want to see what they’ve got a little bit. Part of that was a chance for us to kind of take a look in the mirror and say, ‘hey, can we pull this off?’ And they did. They did a great job.”
Addison Harris led Camas (10-2, 2-0) with 23 points and 18 rebounds, Keirra Thompson had 14 points and 11 assists, while Riley Sanz and Sophie Buzzard each added 11 points as the Papermakers jumped out to a 31-13 halftime lead and limited Union to four field goals in the first half.
But then, Union’s Brooklynn Haywood drained a trio of 3-pointers, Hanna Summers added two more, and suddenly, the Titans (7-3, 1-1) were back within single digits just three minutes into the third quarter.
Three more 3-pointers and a Zoey Robards layup followed for Union to climb within 44-39 with under a minute left in the quarter.
“They definitely went nuclear in the third quarter,” Harris said.
The Papermakers were up to the task of answering every Union run. Harris scored on a layup to end the quarter, then following a Haywood 3-pointer to open the fourth, Harris added another basket before Thompson scored on a fastbreak to put Camas back up 10 points, 52-42. The Papermakers maintained a double-digit lead for most of the game thereafter.
“We got good shots on our end,” Keirra Thompson said. “We were hitting layups most of the time when they were chipping away at our lead. We did a good job of staying together.”
Also key for the Papermakers was their defense, led by the likes of Kendall Mairs, Parker Mairs, Sanz and company, which limited Union to two 3’s during the decisive final quarter.
“Just to be able to weather that, just keep playing defense like we did the whole game and keep the game close,” Harris said.
The win for Camas came after a memorable week at the POA Holiday Classic in Portland. The Papermakers won tough games against Oregon 6A contenders Tualatin and Clackamas, before playing one of the top-ranked teams in the country, Sierra Canyon (Calif.), to a 58-53 defeat.
“I think at this point, I can say that there’s nothing too big for us anymore,” Scott Thompson said. “We’ve taken on the number one team in the nation, gone toe to toe with some of the best players in the country, we’ve played in an atmosphere like this with great players that are hitting shots. I feel like at this point we’re absolutely fearless and can pretty much take on anything.”
Camas has also played its recent stretch without do-it-all junior wing Reagan Jamison, who’s dealing with a nagging injury that was made worse after taking a hard fall last week against Tualatin. The team is hopeful she can play again this season after the strong start she had on both ends of the floor.
“That might be the most impressive thing about this week — the fact we were able to do this without Reagan,” Scott Thompson said. “Obviously we can’t wait to get her back, but ultimately, she’s got to get herself right. Health is number one. … But we expect to have her back this year.”
Union was led by Haywood’s 27 points with Ava Smith chipping in 12.
While the Titans displayed flashes of brilliance for parts of Tuesday’s game, they’re still learning to jell as a team with the additions of Haywood, a freshman, Smith, a transfer from Camas, and Rowyn Riley, a transfer from Skyview.
“Definitely a work in progress,” Union head coach Gary Mills said of his team. “I think there’s a little bit of impatience with this team right now expecting to be great right away. Our message is, judge us at the end of January, not right now. We’re still figuring each other out, figuring out how to climb out of adversity together, good times and bad times. We’re still figuring out those pieces.”
CAMAS 63, UNION 52
UNION – Hanna Summers 8, Rowyn Riley 0, Mackenzie Spike 0, Layla Senderson 0, Zoey Robards 2, Ellie Fleming 1, Brooklynn Haywood 27, Ava Smith 12, Alexandria Yelverton 2. 18 (11) 5-7 52.
CAMAS – Kendall Mairs 2, Riley Sanz 11, Sophie Buzzard 11, Parker Mairs 2, Kendall Bachelder 0, Addison Harris 23, Keirra Thompson 14. 23 (6) 11-14 63.
Union 5 8 26 13—52
Camas 14 17 15 17—63