Effort is not always rewarded.
The Camas High School girls basketball players gave everything they had in their mind, body and spirit Saturday for an opportunity to play in the Tacoma Dome, but the Papermakers just couldn’t shake the No. 4 ranked Franklin Quakers of Seattle, losing 53-43 at Bellevue Community College.
“It’s real simple,” said head coach Chuck Knight after the teary defeat. “I couldn’t be more proud of these girls. I’m just disappointed for them because I wanted everything for them.”
Still, Knight said he can look back at this season with a smile.
“When I look back at this team, I can say that they did things the right way,” he said. “They were such great teammates, hard workers, very ‘coachable’ and reliable. Everything you could ever want in a team, they were that team. I couldn’t be more disappointed for how this game turned out for them, but I also couldn’t be more proud of them for their effort.”
Kendra Preuninger led the Papermakers with 12 points. She hit two huge 3-pointers in the second quarter. Senior Tatum Schroeder got hot in the second half and made three baskets from behind the arc for 10 points. Sydney Allen netted 9-of-her-10 shots from the foul line. Jenka Stiasna added six points, and Lauren Neff and Brenna Khaw each had three.
Franklin grabbed a 12-8 advantage after the first quarter, before Neff notched a steal and a lay up and Preuninger delivered a 3-pointer to put the Papermakers up by one. The Quakers scored six straight points to go up by five. Preuninger hit another three, Franklin answered with two, Khaw nailed a three for Camas, but the Quakers responded again with a three of their own to lead 25-21 at halftime.
Franklin went up by six at the start of the third quarter, before Schroeder came through with a clutch 3-point shot from up top to cut the lead in half.
After the Quakers added two, Allen bowled up the middle and drew the attention of the defenders before kicking the ball to an open Schroeder on the wing. She didn’t hesitate to take another shot from long range for three more points. Schroeder hit a foul shot on the next possession to cut the lead to one. She also hit one more 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.
“I’ve been saving those up,” she said. “That was so exciting. It was a good way to end my senior season of basketball.”
The Papermakers took a 31-30 lead late in the third quarter on a jump shot by Preuninger, but then they couldn’t make a field goal for the next six minutes. The only thing keeping them in the game was Allen going 6-for-6 from the foul line.
“When the shots aren’t falling, you still have to stay composed and play good defense,” Allen said. “Free throws have been huge for us all season.”
Stiasna finally ended the field goal drought for Camas by powering up two points off the glass midway through the fourth quarter. Schroeder followed that up with her third 3-pointer of the game and Preuninger added a couple foul shots to bring the Papermakers back within five, but they couldn’t get any closer.
“It’s too bad the season ended on a loss, but we gave it all we had and we have no regrets,” Allen said.
“Every game, whether we won or lost, the goal was to have fun,” Schroeder added. “And we definitely had a lot of fun.”
Effort helped the Papermakers become one of the top 16 teams in the state for the first time since 1978. Their 19 wins this season goes down as the most in school history. That is something every girl on this team should never forgot.
“We can’t dwell on this one game. We have to look back at how far we came,” Allen said. “We haven’t been this far in 34 years. This is a huge step for Camas girls basketball.”
“Thirty-four years is real long time. To be the team that finally made it back here is just dumb-founding,” Schroeder added. “It makes me really proud to be a Papermaker.”