By Dan Trujillo
What started out as a 20-0 smashing turned into a nail-biting 46-44 victory for the Camas girls against their rivals from down the road Tuesday.
“Our goal is to start out super strong and get that comfortable lead in the beginning,” said senior guard Jillian Webb. “But, I think we got too comfortable in this game and almost let it slip right through our fingers.”
Webb delivered three 3-pointers out of the gate. Haley Hanson and Marianna Payne also attacked the rim, and Jordyn Wilds drained a three of the her own to give the Papermakers a 20-0 advantage before the first buzzer sounded.
“Before the game started, I told Haley I was feeling it,” Webb said. “She told me to bring it right away. I wasn’t kidding, I guess.”
The Titans clicked in the second half, and bombarded the Papermakers with six 3-pointers. Union rallied within two points in the final minutes of the game, but Camas never relinquished its advantage.
After the final buzzer, Webb pumped her fist in the air.
“I felt like I was going to throw up. I was so anxious,” she said. “It was just us having faith in each other. ‘We got this. Don’t let it slip away.'”
As the game got physical, the Papermakers turned it up a notch. Maggie Wells delivered tough baskets and foul shots for 3-point plays. Courtney Clemmer played relentless in the paint, grabbed rebounds and made foul shots.
Payne devoured the Titans on the boards. At one point, she missed a foul shot but got to the ball first off the rim and put it right back up for two more points.
“I take the physicality as a boost,” she said. “I like the intensity. It makes me work a lot harder.”
Although she is just a sophomore, Payne is a force on the floor. Every day, she’s learning what it takes to be a varsity basketball player from the seven seniors on the team.
“Off the court, I love to cheer for them because they are so nice and they’re really helpful,” Payne said. “On the court, I do as much as I can to provide for my team.”
On Tuesday, Camas learned not to take Union lightly. This rivalry is only just beginning.
“No matter how big the lead, just keep playing hard all four quarters instead of just the first quarter,” Webb said. “Be a four-quarter team. Play hard the whole game, not just when we want to.”
Frustrating night for Camas boys
No matter how many times the Papermakers got within one point of their rivals, the Titans buried them again.
Union made eight 3-pointers in the game, including five by Tyler Combs, to defeat Camas 70-61.
Isaiah Sampson propelled the Papermakers 24 points and 14 rebounds, but Camas could never regain the lead after losing it in the second quarter.
“I just wanted to dominate. I knew that’s what I needed to help the team,” Sampson said. “They were getting to the rack easy. We changed it up, but started giving them space and they started knocking down threes. We just have to be ready for anything.”
The Titans charged ahead by 12 in the fourth quarter. Ben Cooke and Tre Carlisle kept hope alive for the Papermakers with 3-pointers. Camas cut the deficit down to three in the final 10 seconds, but couldn’t get any closer.
“We’re a hard-nosed team,” Cooke said. “We’re going to keep battling no matter the output, no matter the deficit, no matter the score.”
Cooke was thrilled to see Sampson take over the game from the start. He scored six points out of the gate, including a dunk that sent the fans into a frenzy.
“I see that every day in practice,” Cooke said. “He’s a big time player. He’s going to do big things and he’s going to go big places.”
After frustrating losses to Skyview and Union at home, Camas looks forward to the rematches: Jan. 19 at Skyview and Jan. 26 at Union.
“Those games are definitely circled on the schedule,” Cooke said. “This left a bad taste in our mouth, but we’ll keep working and get that win the next time.”
The Camas basketball teams host Battle Ground in The Warehouse Friday. The boys tip off first at 5:30 p.m., followed by the girls at 7 p.m.
Photos by Dan Trujillo
To learn more, visit www.chs.camas.wednet.edu