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Hot-shooting Camas boys Tacoma bound after beating West Valley

Papermakers make 19 3-pointers in 84-67 win

By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor
Published: February 23, 2024, 10:04pm
6 Photos
Camas guard Beckett Currie drives against West Valley's Isaiah Currie during a Class 4A state regional boys basketball game on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024 at Davis High School in Yakima.
Camas guard Beckett Currie drives against West Valley's Isaiah Currie during a Class 4A state regional boys basketball game on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024 at Davis High School in Yakima. (Micah Rice/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

YAKIMA – Minutes after their biggest win of the season, the Camas boys basketball team was like a bucket brigade at a fire.

In the few moments they had before their coaches arrived, players darted out of the locker room to fill any water bottle they could.

So when head coach Ryan Josephson eventually opened that door, he was met with a deluge of cheers and H2O.

Such was the celebration after Camas beat West Valley of Yakima 84-67 on Friday in the regional round of the Class 4A state tournament.

Highlights from Camas' 84-67 win over West Valley of Yakima in the regional round of the Class 4A state tournament on Feb. 23, 2024. Video

Friday was the Papermakers’ second straight win in an elimination game, this one before a pro-West Valley crowd at A.C. Davis High School. No. 13-seeded Camas now heads to the round of 12 at the Tacoma Dome to face No. 4 Glacier Peak on Wednesday.

“Hey, they got to the Dome for a second year in a row,” Josephson said later. “The least I can do is get squirted with water bottles.”

Even a real fire crew would not have cooled off Camas, which was a bucket brigade of a different sort on the court. The Papermakers hit 19 3-pointers, each one boosting their confidence and swagger.

It started with Jace VanVoorhis, who hit three of his six 3-pointers in the first quarter en route to scoring 20 points.

“I hit one and I was like ‘this is going to be a good shooting day,’” the junior guard said.

With his teammates carrying the load early, top scorer Beckett Currie waited to strike. After a scoreless first quarter, he poured in 13 of the Papermakers’ 19 points in the second quarter as Camas built a 41-34 halftime lead.

But Camas couldn’t shake the No. 12 seed Rams largely because of Parker Mills. The wide-bodied 6-foot-5 post had 15 points at halftime.

“In that first half he was killing us with midrange jump shots when we didn’t send a double at him,” Josephson said. “So we had to change our strategy and send it even sooner.”

Interviews with coach Ryan Josephson, guard Jace VanVoorhis and forward Ethan Harris after the Papermakers beat West Valley of Yakima in the regional round of the Class 4A state basketball tournament. Video

That adjustment led to Mills scoring just two points in the third quarter. He finished with a team-high 24 points after adding to his total once the game was out of reach.

The Camas frontcourt of Matthew Sitler, Ethan Harris and Channing Nesland were key to that swarming defense. But they had extra help in practice this week when Camas all-state offensive lineman Carson Osmus – a 6-foot-6, 285-pound Washington State signee – played the role of Mills.

“We did so much preparation for the game,” Harris said. “Shoutout to our scout team. They did everything correctly. They helped us win. We brought in a committed Washington State lineman just to bully us.”

Harris wasn’t only a key on defense. The 6-foot-8 sophomore found his shooting stroke in the third quarter, making three of his six 3-pointers en route to a team-high 24 points.

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The biggest shot for Harris might have been one that was off the mark.

“I started feeling really great when I missed one and (VanVoorhis) gets the rebound and gives it right back,” Harris said. “Once I hit that one, I knew it was a great night.”

Camas put the game away with an 11-2 run early in the fourth quarter. VanVoorhis, Sitler and Harris hit 3-pointers that stretched the lead to 74-52.

Currie finished with 23 points, part of a balanced attack that makes Camas its most dangerous version of itself.

“Something we’ve tried to emphasize all season is that we’re not going to be at full strength until everyone is an aggressive scorer for our team,” Josephson said. “When we’re able to find the open man and trust they are going to knock it down, that does make us really tough.”

Camas will head to Tacoma a confident group after perhaps its best performance of the season when the stakes were the highest.

“It’s perfect timing where now guys are starting to play with great confidence,” Josephson said.

CAMAS 84, WEST VALLEY-YAKIMA 67

CAMAS (17-10) – Beckett Currie 23, Matthew Sitler 11, Nyima Namru 3, Jace VanVoorhis 20, Channing Nesland 3, Sam Perry 0, Carter Morgan 0, Legyal Dhongthog 0, Sami Musthafa 0, Ethan Harris 24, Cade Washington 0, Mason Lai 0. Totals . 30 (19) 5-7 84.

WEST VALLEY-YAKIMA (14-8) – Colton Worley 0, Kailer Valdovinos 0, Armour Johnson 0, Landen Birley 20, Brandt Kneisler 3, Colton Bartel 0, Parker Mills 24, Logan Bremerman 0, Parker Hill 11, James Johnson 2, Isaiah Currie 2. Totals 27 (8) 5-8 67.

Camas 22 19 22 18—84

West Valley 16 18 16 7—67

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