Papermaker Ring of Fire

Camas boys and girls battle league's best

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Bryan Butler takes on two Eagles Thursday night, at Hudson's Bay High School in Vancouver. The Camas boys lost this exciting contest, but bounced back by beating Prairie to move into first place in league.

St. Helens is about to blow, and the Papermakers are the magma.

After a week without any seismic activity, the Camas High School boys basketball team plunged into the Ring of Fire and wound up in first place.

Jacob Kaler scored 21 points and grabbed six rebounds, and Bryan Butler provided 14 points, to propel the Papermakers to a 58-45 victory over the Prairie Falcons Saturday night, in Camas. The Papermakers cracked through the magma chamber, after the Hudson’s Bay Eagles lost to the Mountain View Thunder on the same night.

Hudson’s Bay (10-2, 3-1) had a foothold on first place in league, after outlasting Camas (8-3, 4-1) 79-68 in a tectonic shakedown from start to finish. Both teams erupted for 23 points in the first quarter, but that was only the beginning of the rumbling.

Kaler rocked the rim with a slam dunk in the third quarter that registered a 6.9 on the Richter scale.

“It was the first dunk in my high school career, and it felt really good,” Kaler said. “In the back of my mind, I knew I was going to dunk it. I just wanted to throw it down, and give us some momentum.”

He also had a fireball 3-pointer that gave the Papermakers a one-point lead with about five minutes to go in the game. But that only triggered an avalanche of offense and defense, which led the Eagles to victory when all of the dust settled.

The third quarter featured several lead changes. If anybody blinked, they might have missed something truly special.

Camas trailed 39-35, but Addison Owen made those points up on two foul shots and a fast break to the hoop for two more points. Bay got back out in front, before Kaler tied it up again on a couple of foul shots. Kaler’s jolting dunk gave the Papermakers a 43-41 edge, but it wouldn’t last long.

The Eagles made two foul shots, stole the ball and scored again to take a 45-43 lead. Marc Eppinger tied the game up, and then a jumper by Kevin Basilio put Camas up 47-45. Bay tied it at 47-47, but Eppinger put the Papermakers in the driver’s seat on a turnaround jumper.

Camas sustained this lead for a few minutes. Kyle Friend finished off a pretty drive to the hoop for a 53-50 advantage, before the Eagles tied the game up one more time on a 3-pointer. Bay went on a 9-0 tear to cap off a boiling eight minutes of basketball.

Down 59-53, Camas still had plenty of steam. Kaler delivered seven points in about three minutes, including a 3-pointer that gave the Papermakers a glimmer of hope with a slim 62-61 lead. It would be all downhill from there, as the Eagles finished the game on an 18-6 run.

“Both of us were just battling, and trading baskets,” Kaler said. “We had the mentality to win, but it all came down to making stops. You got to hand it to Hudson’s Bay, they made some ridiculous shots.”

The Camas boys had a much better defensive effort in a 60-33 victory over Columbia River, on Jan. 4. The Chieftains only shot 23 percent from the field, while Michael Neff racked up six rebounds and three blocked shots, and Eppinger snatched three steals. Kaler led a balanced offensive attack with 14 points. Butler added 10 points, and Basilio, Owen and Dubilas Zalpys each had eight points.

“Everyone contributed and played a solid game,” Kaler said. “It was a good team win.”

The Papermakers look forward to the rematch with Hudson’s Bay, which is set for Tuesday, Jan. 25, in the Camas warehouse. In the meantime, the Papermakers will have their hands full at Mountain View Friday. Tip off is at 7 p.m.

Prairie girls shock Camas

The Prairie girls basketball team was as hot as lava Saturday night, and the Papermakers could find no relief from the heat in Falcon territory. Camas (8-3, 4-1) turned the ball over 30 times, and Prairie (11-0, 4-0) stoked the coals to a 65-26 victory.

The Papermakers got into foul trouble early, and seemed to get no calls from the officials on the other side of the floor. More controversy arose before the end of the second quarter, when the game clock mysteriously stopped counting down at three seconds.

Camas in-bounded the ball under the hoop, and there was a heated scramble that forced a jump ball in favor of Prairie. Somehow, there was still three seconds on the clock. Just enough time for the Falcons to beat the buzzer with a jumper. The game was pretty one-sided at that point, with Prairie leading 30-14.

A 34-10 scoring drive in the second half spring boarded the Papermakers to a 49-32 victory over Hudson’s Bay Thursday, in Camas. Lauren Neff had nine points and nine rebounds, and Sydney Schwartz added six points and 12 rebounds off the bench. Kyla Sumpter netted eight points, and Sydney Allen and Tatum Schroeder both scored six.

Camas also handled Columbia River 56-22, on Jan. 4. The Papermakers broke the game wide open with a 25-6 surge in the third quarter. Kendra Preuninger racked up 12 points on three 3-pointers. Melissa Williams collected nine points, six rebounds, three blocks and three steals. Kayla Roche scored seven points and Schwartz added six. Allen grabbed seven rebounds.

The Camas girls kick off a doubleheader Friday, at Mountain View. Tip off is at 5:30 p.m.