The hearts inside these Camas High School boys basketball players are beating fast.
They started out 0-3 in league. Now they are 3-3, after defeating Skyview 50-48 Friday, and Battle Ground 50-47 Jan. 21, in the Camas warehouse.
“I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life,” said junior James Price. “When the fans are in it and the team is in it, it’s an exciting time.”
Price had a clutch steal, fast break and a basket under pressure to bring the Papermakers within three points of Skyview heading into the fourth quarter.
Jake Hansel tied the game on a 3-pointer, Price came up with another steal and passed the ball to Brandon Nguyen, who was fouled while attempting a lay up. Nguyen made both free throws, and Camas had the lead for the first time since blowing a 22-10 advantage in the second quarter.
Price put the Papermakers up by four points at the foul line. Camas got the ball back, but Skyview came up with a steal and a dunk on the other end to make it a 2-point game.
The Papermakers lost their next possession. Hansel stole the ball from a Skyview player, but then stepped out of bounds. Hansel stole the ball again, but the Storm intercepted his pass. Hansel then rebounded a miss by Skyview and it was finally Camas ball.
Skyview got the ball back four times on a Camas miss, two rebounds and a loose ball out of bounds. The Papermakers fouled a Skyview shooter from behind the 3-point line. He made two shots to tie the game, but missed one that would have given Skyview the lead.
After both teams traded baskets, Camas called timeout with 16.4 seconds left on the clock. The Papermakers rebounded their missed shot and called timeout again with 3.6 seconds to go. Trevor Jasinsky was fouled on a lay up and went to the free throw line with a chance to win the game. He made both shots without breaking a sweat and put Camas up 50-48.
“I went to the line smiling,” Jasinsky said. “It’s just a free throw. I make those every day in practice. I knew I had my team behind me.”
Skyview had 2.2 seconds left to answer. Nick Lopes tipped the in-bounds pass, and the Storm didn’t have enough time left to get a good shot off.
“I thought everybody from the bench, to the coaches to the players on the court handled those pressure situations well,” Nguyen said. “We can celebrate now that the game is over.”
Head coach Skyler Gillispie told the Camas boys to keep working hard in practice.
“We are not done yet. We are just getting started,” he said. “It was a good finish for us tonight. But as soon as we walked out of the gym, it’s over. Let’s get better tomorrow.”
Nguyen delivered the winning 3-pointer for the Papermakers against Battle Ground. The CHS senior rose above the ferocious Tigers and nailed a 23-foot shot as the final buzzer sounded.
“I don’t want to take too much credit for that win,” Nguyen said. “Our team was hustling the whole game. Without those hustle points, we wouldn’t have been where we were.”
Camas plays at Evergreen Tuesday and hosts Union Friday, before finishing league play at Heritage (Feb. 4) and Battle Ground (Feb. 7). All four games start at 7 p.m.
“Us guys have played together for a long time. We’ve been through the good and the bad,” Nguyen said. “I’m proud to be a part of this group and having Camas basketball on the rise.”