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4A boys: Glacier Peak comes back from 20 points down to beat Camas 65-61 in Round of 12

Papermakers post 17-11 record in second straight trip to Tacoma Dome

By Will Denner, Columbian staff writer
Published: February 28, 2024, 11:35pm
9 Photos
Glacier Peak guard Josiah Lee (2) approaches Camas' Beckett Currie (1) and extends his arm in a sign of sportsmanship as his team celebrates Glacier Peak's 65-61 win over Camas in Wednesday's Round of 12 game at the Tacoma Dome. Currie had a game-high 26 points on 10 of 17 shooting.
Glacier Peak guard Josiah Lee (2) approaches Camas' Beckett Currie (1) and extends his arm in a sign of sportsmanship as his team celebrates Glacier Peak's 65-61 win over Camas in Wednesday's Round of 12 game at the Tacoma Dome. Currie had a game-high 26 points on 10 of 17 shooting. (Meg Wochnick/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

TACOMA — Hot shooting propelled the Camas Papermakers to the Tacoma Dome for a second consecutive year.

After draining 19 3-pointers in last week’s Class 4A State Opening Round boys basketball win against West Valley of Yakima, No. 13 seed Camas picked up right where it left off in Wednesday’s Round Of 12 game against No. 4 Glacier Peak.

Five Camas players combined to hit nine 3’s in the first half, led by Beckett Currie’s four. The Papermakers played inspired defense, holding the Grizzlies to 27 percent shooting in the opening 16 minutes.

But when the teams returned out of the halftime break, with Camas ahead 36-24, the Grizzlies began to claw their way back by attacking the hoop and hitting some deep shots of their own.

Glacier Peak’s Zachary Albright scored the go-ahead layup with 19 seconds left, Camas missed on the other end and the Grizzlies came back from a deficit as large as 20 points to claim a 65-61 win. Glacier Peak (23-3) advanced to the Harwood Classic quarterfinals Thursday against No. 3 Gonzaga Prep. Camas ended its season with a 17-11 record.

“We haven’t always shot it the best this season, but I know this team is so capable shooting,” Camas coach Ryan Josephson said.

“Obviously to see (shooting) translate to the dome, when you worry if there’s going to be an effect, is great. But I think ultimately what’s going to win here is, can we get to the rim? Can we go in the paint? Unfortunately, that’s just where we gave up too many opportunities. We didn’t win that battle.”

Glacier Peak’s Isaiah Cuellar-Bell led the Grizzlies with 24 points and gave them their first lead since the opening minutes of the game when he hit a turnaround jumper and 3-pointer on consecutive trips up the floor in the fourth, putting the Grizzlies ahead 54-51 with four minutes left.

Camas’ Jace VanVoorhis and Currie each hit game-tying 3’s within the final three-and-a-half minutes, but the Papermakers were unable to reclaim a lead they held for most of three quarters.

Currie scored 14 of his team-high 26 points in the first half as Camas blitzed Glacier Peak, leading by as many as 32-12 midway through the second quarter after a 9-0 run with deep shots from VanVoohris, Ethan Harris and Currie.

In the second half, however, Glacier Peak double-teamed Currie, Camas’ primary ball-handler, nearly every time he touched the ball, and it worked to slow the Papermakers’ offense. Currie said one of his main focuses this offseason will be preparing for those box-and-ones opponents frequently throw his way.

“We knew what they wanted to do,” Currie said. “Where we really struggled is on the offensive end at the end.”

For Camas to return to the Tacoma Dome this season, after earning a program-best sixth-place trophy at state in 2023, was no small feat.

The run included two loser-out games in the 4A bi-district tournament, before last week’s loser-out win over West Valley in the State Opening Round. As Josephson pointed out, prior to the two most recent seasons, the program hadn’t reached state since the 1960s.

“I remember I was an assistant coach thinking how difficult it was to get to the dome,” Josephson said, “and it just seemed almost impossible for Camas to get there. It felt like we were close a couple times with really good teams, we just could never quite make that extra step. Last year was such an incredible feeling, because it was like, ‘wow, we broke that ceiling ‘ … Then you kind of wonder, are we going to be able to do it again? It took 60 years to get here. For them to go back to back is really special.”

And the Papermakers don’t anticipate stopping at two trips to Tacoma with this core group, led by juniors VanVoorhis (10 points), Currie and Harris (14 points), a sophomore.

“I think we’ve put it into the type of team we are now,” Currie said. “The younger guys see what it takes to get here, see what it takes to win here, see what it takes to beat us. … You talk about teams like Federal Way and Richland that are up here every year —we’re just starting that. It took us 60 years — we’re just starting that again. Hopefully guys can take bits and pieces of that and just keep moving forward.”

GLACIER PEAK 65, CAMAS 61

CAMAS— Beckett Currie 26, Cade Washington 4, Matthew Sitler 3, Nyima Namru 3, Jace VanVoorhis 10, Channing Nesland 0, Sam Perry 0, Legyal Dhongthog 0, Ethan Harris 14. Totals 23 (14) 1-4 61

GLACIER PEAK — Adam Loum 0, Josiah Lee 13, Isaiah Cuellar-Bell 24, Samuel Waldow 3, Reed Nagel 3, Zachary Albright 14, Jayce Nelson 8. Totals 23 (8) 11-14 65

Camas 20 16 12 13 – 61

G. Peak 10 14 21 20 – 65

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