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Stars in other sports, Parker and Kendall Mairs happily play gritty role in Camas girls state championship run

Parker Mairs is a star in soccer, while Kendall Mairs is a star in volleyball

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: March 2, 2024, 9:02pm
3 Photos
Camas senior Parker Mairs (5) celebrates after making a shot Saturday, March 2, 2024, during the Papermakers’ 57-41 win against Gonzaga Prep in the 4A WIAA State Basketball championship game at the Tacoma Dome.
Camas senior Parker Mairs (5) celebrates after making a shot Saturday, March 2, 2024, during the Papermakers’ 57-41 win against Gonzaga Prep in the 4A WIAA State Basketball championship game at the Tacoma Dome. (Taylor Balkom/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

TACOMA — Kendall Mairs was all smiles Saturday night at the Tacoma Dome.

However, about 30 minutes later, when the Camas girls basketball team was battling Gonzaga Prep for the 4A state championship, the junior was decidedly unhappy.

“I’m fine now,” Mairs said afterwards. “Day 2 of getting elbowed in the mouth again.”

That’s the role that Mairs and her older sister Parker play for the Papermakers. And it helped Camas capture their first state championship with a 57-41 win over the Bullpups.

“You can say the me and Kendall are like the physical ones,” Parker Mairs said. “We both fouled out yesterday. We are the nitty-gritty, but our team feeds off that. We play like that for our team.”

The Mairs are stars off the basketball. Parker was the 4A Greater St. Helens League player of the year last fall in in soccer, while Kendall was the 4A GSHL player of the year in volleyball. Parker will play college soccer at Colorado Mesa next fall.

But in basketball, they are role players. And that is as valuable as any star on the basketball team, coach Scott Thompson said.

“Parker and Kendall are just flat-out amazing athletes,” Thompson said. “If they wanted to dedicate themselves more to basketball, they would be even more skilled and even better at this game. But ultimately, they’ve chosen their path. Parker is an amazing soccer player, and Kendall is an amazing volleyball player. Their both scholarship players.

“But it’s kind of surreal when you look at it. In today’s day and age, everybody wants to be the leading scorer. Everybody wants to get their name in the paper. They do all that in their other sports … And then they show up to basketball and just say ‘What can we do to help to help you guys win?’ ”

On Saturday, Parker scored five points, including two on a drive early in the fourth quarter that go Camas going again after Gonzaga Prep tried to work back into the game. She also had three rebounds and four fouls.

Kendall only scored two points, but she pulled down seven rebounds, including five offensive rebounds. She also picked up four fouls.

“But we didn’t foul out,” Kendall said. “We got four though. Might as well use them while we’re here.”

Both Mairs sisters got to finish on the court with their teammates, as the Papermakers captured that elusive state title.

“Their ability to do anything to help their team win, most teams just don’t have,” Thompson said. “Their athleticism, their mindset, they way they approach this team, it helps us tremendously. And I just don’t think we could have done this without them.”

With other top athlete focusing on their No. 1 sports exclusively, the Mairs sisters said they never thought about doing that.

“I do it for the enjoyment,” Kendall said. “I’ve been playing with these girls for forever. It’s great playing with them and finally getting to experience this with all of them.”

For Parker, it’s all about joy.

“I just come to every day to practice or any team thing, and I just have so much fun with my team,” Parker said. “This is the last run for me, so I’m just so glad we were able to end it on a huge W.”

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