CAMAS — There’s been plenty of times this basketball season when Scott Thompson feels like he isn’t coaching, but rather, watching artists at work.
Those artists are the players on Camas High’s girls basketball team, Washington’s top-ranked team in Class 4A. When it comes to the art of passing, the Papermakers make a masterpiece.
“I’m just enjoying the show like everyone else,” the Papermakers’ head coach said. “It’s beautiful basketball.
“I kind of marvel at their greatness.”
That beautiful basketball also happened Tuesday in a 77-34 home victory over Skyview in a battle of the 4A Greater St. Helens League’s top two girls basketball teams entering the day. In the end, the Papermakers clinched at least a share of the 4A GSHL crown, and can win it outright by winning one of their final two regular-season games. They travel to Union on Friday.
One day after dropping their third game of the season — a 60-50 road loss to 6A Clackamas, an Oregon state title contender — Camas (15-3 overall, 4-0 league) limited Skyview to six field goals the final three quarters and built on its 21-point halftime lead and led by as many as 45 points.
On Tuesday, Camas had 22 assists on 29 field goals. Four players registered three or more assists — Keirra Thompson, Riley Sanz, Parker Mairs and Addison Harris. And like art, the beauty is in the details but the end goal remains the same.
“It’s to get the best shot possible,” Harris said.
Harris had a game-high 28 points, 14 rebounds and three assists, and Kendall Mairs added a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds to pace Camas.
Passing — and exceptional passing — is Camas’ emphasis this season, especially so in recent weeks, Harris said. A winter holiday tournament in Portland is when a flip of the switch came in their offense, topping Clackamas at the buzzer and a narrow defeat to one of the nation’s elite teams, Sierra Canyon (Calif.)
More confidence followed, said Sanz, who had a team-best seven assists Tuesday.
“We trust each other so much,” she said. “We know when there’s a cutter and we can pass it to them. That’s the game that flipped the switch for us.”
What makes a good passing team? Starting point guard Keirra Thompson explains.
“Always moving, always cutting and not caring who gets the credit,” said Thompson, who had four assists in 16 minutes.
Camas has two regular-season games left before the start of the 4A bi-district tournament. One thing Coach Thompson can count on every game is how players are ready to share.
And that means continuing to enjoy watching artists at work.
“They are always ready to make everything about the team’s success,” he said.
Jordan Labrador-Hallett paced Skyview with 14 points, including 12 in the first quarter.
CAMAS 77, SKYVIEW 34
SKYVIEW — Lainey Phillips 7, Sam Groesbeck 0, Charlotte Baker 2, Brynnlee Williams 0, Kaydance Stratton 2, TaRyah Hamstreet 0, Kiera Parks 7, Keymorah Johnson 2, Chanelle Paschal 0, Jordan Labrador-Hallett 14. Totals 13 (6) 2-2 34.
CAMAS — Kendall Mairs 14, Riley Sanz 5, Sophie Buzzard 9, Parker Mairs 8, Kendall Bachelder 2, Baylie Farra 0, Brianna Forbess 2, Addison Harris 28, Keirra Thompson 9. Totals 29 (9) 10-17 77.
Skyview 20 5 5 4—34
Camas 21 25 21 10—77