TACOMA — Grit and determination.
It’s too early to tell what it’ll take for the Camas Papermakers to win a state championship. Ask head coach Scott Thompson that should the Papermakers be fortunate enough to make it to Saturday’s title game.
But a gusty 59-46 Class 4A girls quarterfinal win Thursday night in a matchup of the two seeds earlier than many anticipated, has the Papermakers feeling good.
The win sends Camas (23-3) to Friday’s late-game 9 p.m. semifinal against Tahoma, a team Camas defeated twice earlier this season. And both prior matchups came by wins by at least 20 points, including a 60-31 victory nearly two weeks ago at bi-districts.
By reaching the state semifinals, Camas already has guaranteed itself a state trophy and is the furthest any prior Camas girls team has gone in the state tournament. Fourth place at state last year was the program’s first trophy, and the Papermakers are aiming bigger.
But it didn’t come easy Thursday against the top-seeded and defending 4A state champions. Because of Woodinville’s upset loss to Emerald Ridge in last weekend’s Opening Round, the Falcons had to play their way into the quarterfinals with a Wednesday’s Round-of-12 win — and onto the same side of the bracket as Camas. The Papermakers knew it was a strong possibility of facing Woodinville in their preparations for Tacoma, a matchup many believed would take place Saturday.
Perhaps no 4A team had as tough of a nonleague schedule as Camas, featuring the likes of Oregon 6A contender Clackamas, defending 6A Oregon champ Beaverton, not to mention now-state semifinalist Tahoma twice and nationally ranked Sierra Canyon (Calif.).
Without question, those tests prepared them for Thursday.
“That definitely helped us,” said Keirra Thompson, who finished with nine points and five assists, “because that got us ready for teams and how they play defense on us. It got us ready for that pressure and that next-level intensity.”
Similar to their first game at the Tacoma Dome in 2022 when it struggled from the field for a half against Bellarmine Prep, it took one half to get going against the Falcons.
Tied at 24-all at halftime, Camas struggled in the opening 16 minutes converting from the paint and hitting from the outside. It shot just 31 percent in the first half.
Defense and clutch outside shooting is what separated Camas late. For a 7-minute second-half stretch, Camas held Woodinville to just three field goals. Meanwhile, Camas slowly built its one-possession lead at 31-30 to a bit of breathing room entering the final eight minutes leading 42-35. It was the largest lead by either team since the first quarter.
Then, the shots started falling in the fourth. The Papermakers went 3 of 3 from 3-point range — Keirra Thompson with two and one from Riley Sanz — as the lead built to 55-40 inside 3 minutes to play. A no-look pass from Thompson to Riley Sanz for a layin kept momentum high.
“It feels amazing,” Sanz said. “Honestly, our shots were more last-second shots. Those 3s really made a big impact on us.”
Four players had at least nine points, led by Reagan Jamison’s 13 and Sanz’s 11. Addison Harris added nine points and a game-best 15 rebounds. A balance attack is one of Camas’ strengths, and when that balance is on such as Thursday, Camas is successful.
Another part of their grit and determination Thursday.
“With our team, our best thing to do is share and we love to share the ball,” said Sanz, who had nine of her 11 points in the second half. “When people get going, we love it for them. It’s about everyone.
CAMAS 59, WOODINVILLE 46
WOODINVILLE — Adie Segadelli 0, Lyla Kahrimanovic 5, Hailey Quiggle 4, Jaecy Eggers 6, Anna Harris 0, Ally Laccinole 0, Macartney Noe 7, Jazlyn Wilkerson 7, Brooke Beresford 17. Totals 19 (5) 3-9 46
CAMAS — Reagan Jamison 13, Kendall Mairs 7, Riley Sanz 11, Sophie Buzzard 5, Parker Mairs 5, Addison Harris 9, Keirra Thompson 9. Totals 23 (6) 7-11 59.
W’Ville 11 13 11 11 – 46
Camas 12 12 18 17 – 59