McKenna and Paige Jackson know each other so well, they finish each other’s sentences.
That’s what happens when you are born 34 seconds apart and have been playing on the same basketball team for seven years.
“We both like the same things and we have the same friends,” Paige said.
“I guess that’s identical part of being twins,” McKenna added. “It’s feels great to always have your best friend by your side, whether we’re on or off the court.”
Temple and Jeff Jackson are the proud parents of these twins. The Camas High School girls basketball program has benefitted tremendously from having two senior sisters paving the way for the underclassmen and future Papermakers.
“We want to set an example of what a Camas varsity basketball player does, and that’s working hard in practice every day like you would in a game,” McKenna said. “We see young kids coming to our games and that’s awesome. You can tell that they look up to all three Camas High School teams.”
“Reaching out to those kids is important because they are the future of Camas basketball,” Paige added.
Head coach Chuck Knight said the Jacksons bring intangibles you can’t teach. They were both born with basketball in their genes.
“These girls have put in a lot of work in the last four years,” he said. “Although they didn’t get to play a lot of minutes last year, their attitude never wavered. They just continued to work hard and were a big part of our success. That has carried on into this year and rewarded them with more quality minutes.”
The Jacksons love being on the floor together. They call it “double-double time.”
“I’m most comfortable when she’s right by my side,” McKenna said.
“We both just get in a zone,” Paige added. “We have the same speed and the same level of aggression, and we always have each other’s backs.”
The sisterhood has rubbed off on the rest of the Papermakers. Seniors Sierra Brown, Kathryn Johnson, Kimi Knight, Lauren Neff and Kyla Sumpter have been playing basketball with the Jacksons since fifth grade.
“These girls are not just my teammates, they’re my sisters,” Paige said.
The Camas girls basketball family solidified last season when the Papermakers made it to the state tournament for the first time since 1978.
“We were the first team to make it that far in 34 years,” McKenna said. “It felt amazing to be a part of that. It’s something we’re always going to remember.”
“With this being our senior year, our goal is to get back there and play our best basketball so we can go even further,” Paige added.
The fun continued in the spring when Paige Jackson, Johnson, Knight, Neff and Tatum Schroeder convinced Sydney Allen and McKenna Jackson to join the track and field team. Paige did the pole vault and McKenna threw the javelin. Schroeder, Johnson, Knight, Neff and Allen had success in the running, jumping, throwing, sprinting and hurdling events.
“Basketball season may have been over, but our team bonding wasn’t,” Paige said. “We said let’s keep the team together and do track. That was a lot of fun.”
Allen and Schroeder attended some Camas girls basketball games while they were home from college for the holidays. The Jacksons said it feels like they never left. It’s a reality they too will face when they graduate from high school in six months. The Jacksons hope they can go to college together and play more basketball. One thing they know for sure, they can always come home and reunite with their Camas basketball family.
“These are relationships that are going to last a lifetime,” McKenna said. “I don’t think you can say that about a lot of places. And that’s just made our basketball experience the greatest it could be.”