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Camas girls basketball team celebrates memorable senior night, tops Union 70-35 to clinch 4A GSHL title

Papermakers honor seniors Addison Harris, Brianna Forbess, Parker Mairs, Reagan Jamison, Riley Sanz, along with assistant coach John Griffin

By Will Denner, Columbian staff writer
Published: February 3, 2024, 12:05am

CAMAS — It’s become an annual tradition on senior night for the Camas girls basketball team to substitute their fourth-year players off the court one by one in the fourth quarter, allowing each of them a moment to receive an ovation from the crowd and embrace their teammates on the bench.

Only this year, the team had five seniors to celebrate, all of whom play an important role for the Papermakers. Camas coach Scott Thompson had to space them out accordingly in Friday’s game against Union.

First, Parker Mairs hit a 3-pointer and picked up her fifth and final foul with five minutes left in the fourth. In came a sub, and Mairs trotted to the bench as the crowd cheered her on.

Next came Brianna Forbess. Then it was Riley Sanz’s turn.

Finally, with under two minutes remaining, Reagan Jamison and Addison Harris checked out of the game seconds apart. Harris soaked in the moment, thinking back to past years watching senior teammates go through the same tradition. Now they were experiencing the same thing.

“Immediately, as I sit down, the emotions start hitting. … That just made it all real, like, this is real. I’m graduating soon,” Harris said.

“It means everything,” Harris said. “Just the support we have from the community, most of all, is what makes that moment so special. Our teammates, best of all, they’re all waiting on the sidelines with open arms, just as emotional as me. It’s really special.”

The moment was one of several special ones for a Camas team that rolled to a 70-35 win over Union to claim another outright 4A Greater St. Helens League title, led by Harris’ 20 points, Sanz’s 15 points and nine points from Parker Mairs. The Papermakers cut down the net after the game to commemorate their latest triumph, and they hope it’s not the only time this season as the Class 4A bi-district playoffs get underway one week from Saturday.

Yet even before the game and senior night festivities, the night carried extra meaning for the Papermakers. During halftime of the Union-Camas boys game, Thompson and the team took a few minutes to recognize assistant coach John Griffin in the midst of his battle with prostate cancer.

Thompson spoke to the crowd of how Griffin impacted his life dating back to when he was a high school student at Mountain View and Griffin was his history teacher.

Griffin then received a long ovation from the crowd as he wiped away tears, and Camas girls basketball players ran across the court to greet him with hugs. Many people in the crowd also wore blue shirts in an effort to help bring awareness to the disease.

“More importantly, it was for coach Griff,” Harris said. “The night was dedicated to him. That win was for him. It was a blue-out in the gym, we spent all day decorating the posters that were on the walls, the new shooting shirts us and the boys (team) were repping, that was the real meaning of that game.”

And, of course, the win was also a tribute to the Papermakers’ class of seniors who made an instant impact in the program when they entered high school in the 2020-21 school year.

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Camas went 16-1 that spring, then when postseason events returned in 2021-22, the Papermakers placed fourth at the 4A state tournament for the program’s first state trophy. They soared even higher last season by reaching the 4A state championship game and finishing second. Harris, Jamison, Sanz, Mairs and Forbess were part of all those accomplishments.

“These five seniors have an unmatched legacy in the basketball programs at Camas High School,” Thompson said. “They came in in a COVID year, which was nothing but disarray. … They helped us get to a 16-1 team, and we felt like we would’ve done really good things at the (Tacoma) Dome that year with that team because we had some really strong seniors. They came in and they saw what the seniors were doing, they saw the culture, they saw what Camas basketball was all about, and they’ve taken it to another level now.”

The lone loss Camas had during that spring 2021 season, coincidentally, came against Union. Since then, the Papermakers seniors haven’t lost to their rival Titans. Friday’s win was their eighth straight in the series.

“They’re our rivals; it means a lot,” Harris said. “… Huge respect to Brooklynn, Ava (Smith), everyone on that team, they’re really great players, and it feels good to win.”

The Titans (15-4, 3-2), led by Brooklynn Haywood’s 23 points, have been ranked in the 4A top 10 for much of the season and have their sights set on reaching the 4A state tournament.

But this Camas team is simply in another stratosphere, and their sustained excellence against Union isn’t lost on them.

“For them to rattle off that many in a row, it’s just really special,” Thompson said. “Because Union is obviously a really, really strong program and they’ve been really good for a long time. I expect that they end up at the dome this year. This was a really good win for us, and they’ve all been special.”

CAMAS 70, UNION 35

UNION — Carli Christensen 0, Myla Larry  0, Brooklynn Haywood 23, Rowyn Riley 1, Taylor McCullough 0, Addison Eisfeldt  6, Zoey Robards 3, Ava Smith 2. Totals 11 (2) 11-15 35.

CAMAS — Reagan Jamison 3, Kendall Mairs 4, Riley Sanz 15, Sophie Buzzard 5, Parker Mairs 9, Eli Gibson 3, Baylie Farra 3, Brianna Forbess 0, Lauren Hood 0, Addison Harris 20, Keirra Thompson 8. Totals 28 (12) 2-3 70.

Union 11 4 11 9—35

Camas 16 15 20 19—70

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