The Camas boys and girls basketball teams took their fans on a roller coaster ride Friday night, at Prairie.
After taking just a few steps past the half court line, Trent Johnson delivered a 3-point package through the net as the halftime buzzer sounded to give the Papermakers the lead and the momentum heading in the locker room at halftime.
“I knew it had a chance, but you never expect a shot like that to go in,” Johnson said. “I missed my first three shots from behind the 3-point line, so when that one went in, I kind of got in a zone.”
Johnson didn’t miss from behind the arc the rest of the night. He wore out the basket with five more threes, on way to a team-leading 22 points. But Prairie’s defensive press and transition offense humbled the Papermakers down the stretch.
The Falcons tied the game up at 48-48 in the final minute. On the next possession for Camas, Andy Hak stole the ball, dribbled it down the court and chucked the rock to Ryan Denny for the go-ahead basket. The Papermakers only had five seconds left to respond, which was not enough time. Prairie celebrated a 50-48 victory.
“Every time I shot the ball in that second half, I knew it was going in,” Johnson said. “If I could have gotten a few more looks, maybe we would have won the game.”
In the nightcap, the Camas girls pushed Prairie throughout the first half before running out of steam. The Falcons seized control with a 21-9 third quarter, before closing out the game on a 15-2 scoring drive in the final four minutes for a 66-45 victory.
“I have no doubt in my mind that we beat them in that first half. It was like night and day from the first game,” said Camas head coach Chuck Knight. “The margin of error against this team is really thin. You have to play extremely well for 32 minutes. Even the smallest mistakes you make, they are going to capitalize on them.”
The Papermakers had everything going their way in the second quarter. Sierra Brown was a huge catalyst. She racked up 17 of her team-leading 19 points in those eight minutes, as Camas took a 26-24 lead going into the locker room at halftime.
“You have so many games, and then there’s that one game where you are so proud of the team. The emotion comes over you, and you think, ‘Wow, this is amazing,’” Brown said. “I’m really proud to be a Camas Papermaker tonight. Even though we lost, we got much closer to being a top team.”
Prairie nailed five 3-pointers in the third quarter to build a 10-point lead. Camas cut it to seven-point game midway through the fourth quarter, before the Falcons cashed in six points off three straight steals. Prairie then made two more threes for good measure.
“You just have to set your standards to get better, and keep pushing that bar up as high as you can,” Brown said. “You always have to believe in yourself and your teammates.”