Playoff basketball fever

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Jacob Kaler glides to the hoop to score two of his 35 points Jan. 25, at Camas High School. The Papermakers beat Hudson's Bay 84-57 to take over first place.

Before delivering 35 points to help the Camas High School boys basketball team beat Hudson’s Bay 84-57 on Jan. 25, Jacob Kaler remembers two words the Papermakers wrote down in the locker room before the game.

“Win league,” he said. “Seeing the goal on the board motivated me even more. Those words were pounding through my head the whole game.”

Kaler racked up 17 points in the first half. At one point, the Papermakers were rolling on a 26-2 scoring drive in the first half.

Kaler collected another 14 points in the third quarter. He capped off a night to remember with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the third quarter, and a shot clock beating jumper in the fourth quarter.

“This was a must-win game in my mind, if we wanted to win league,” Kaler said. “This is what I’ve been working so hard for in practice, for games like this. All of that extra work in the weight room, and building endurance from cross country, is really starting to pay off for me.”

Kyle Friend scored 14 points, on 7 of 7 shooting. Addison Owen just missed a triple-double with 10 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Bryan Butler provided six points and nine assists. Kevin Basilio and Marc Eppinger each netted six points.

“I’ll just remember that big run in the first quarter,” Owen said. “All of the crisp passes, lay-ins, steals and running we did to put points on the board. That’s the fun part of basketball, and that’s why I play the game.”

Hudson’s Bay scored five straight points to open the second half, before Kaler and Camas kicked it up a notch.

“It’s always going to be a dog fight with Bay. They never let up, and you have to give them credit for that,” Kaler said. “At the same time, we just showed we are capable of playing that way too. It’s just a matter of desire and confidence. Winning means everything.”

Prairie clipped Camas 56-52 Thursday, and Mountain View stunned Hudson’s Bay again 57-54 Friday. This sets up an exciting final week of the season. Camas (8-3) is clinging onto first place, but Hudson’s Bay (7-4), Mountain View (6-4) and Prairie (6-4) remain within striking distance.

“After Mountain View beat Bay and they beat us, they are the team to beat,” Owen said. “Our goal is to win league and to keep going all the way to the Tacoma Dome. We saw Union go all the way last year, and win a state championship, and we feel we are right there.”

Good Friday for basketball

It will be a good Friday for basketball in Camas, when the Hoops for Pink fund-rasier for breast cancer research returns to the warehouse. The girls and boys doubleheader begins at 5:30 p.m.

Camas black and Mountain View blue Hoops for Pink shirts are on sale for $10 through the Camas ASB office and the girls basketball players. The evening will include a silent auction, raffle prizes and halftime activities. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Kay Yow Foundation for breast cancer research.

The Papermaker girls handled Hudson’s Bay 42-26, on Jan. 25. Sydney Allen delivered 13 points, seven rebounds and five steals, and Kayla Roche added 11 points and nine rebounds. Prairie overwhelmed Camas Thursday 62-36. Kendra Preuninger and Tatum Schroeder each scored 10 points in the loss.

Panther girls are in the hunt

The Washougal girls defeated R.A. Long 41-37 Friday to further solidfy third place in league.

Darcy Akers and Sarah Brown each scored 10 points, Kendall Utter delivered nine and Maddy Down chipped in seven. Woodland helped the Panthers by beating Hockinson 68-44.

Washougal hosts Woodland Wednesday and goes Hockinson Friday. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. The Panthers have a one game lead over the Hawks for the third an final playoff spot.