Injuries can humble a team or help it discover obscure pieces to the puzzle.
The Camas High School girls basketball team is no stranger to this obstacle. Just as Brenna Khaw regained the trust in her knee after returning from a torn ACL, Nikki Corbett tore cartilage in her right femur. She has not been able to run since July, after averaging 16.8 points a game for the Papermakers.
Faced with a similar quandary at the start of a new season, head coach Chuck Knight said a solution will be found in the younger players. This is their time to rise and shine.
“Nikki wants to play. Once the games start, she’s going to do everything she can to get back out there,” he said. “I just hope Brenna can stay healthy. We only saw her at about 60 percent last year. We haven’t had the luxury of both of these girls being healthy at the same time. Until that happens, it’s an opportunity for younger players to step in and gain experience.”
One of the players who gained a lot of varsity minutes last season is senior Rachel Gray. Knight also hopes to see more development out of juniors Mia Hunt and Noora Monghate, and sophomores Meghan Finley, Emma Jones and Teague Schroeder.
“This could definitely be a breakout year for Rachel. She’s getting comfortable out there and allowing her athletic abilities to take over,” Knight said. “We’re really deep one through 11. I see lots of players who could shine and do some great things. It’s all about them defining their roles, and carrying out those roles as best they can.”
If Camas can solve this equation early enough, the girls believe they can contend for a league championship and make a strong push in the playoffs.
Camas girls basketball players of the past and present have dreamed of getting to the Tacoma Dome for the first time in school history. The Papermakers reached the Sweet 16 in 2012, back when these seniors were freshmen.
“This program has always felt like a family. I learned a lot from my older teammates. They helped me become the best leader I can be,” Khaw said. “Getting to the Tacoma Dome would be something to remember. I would love to be able to say that we made it and we couldn’t have done it without them.”
Both Skyview and Union stand in their way. Mountain View changes the whole dynamic of the 4A Greater St. Helens League. Battle Ground, Evergreen and Heritage are not going to be pushovers.
“Skyview is still the team to beat. Somebody’s got to knock them off their perch before you say they are not the team to beat,” Knight said. “My goal for these girls is to play inspired basketball together every time they step on the court. If they believe in each other and create that synergy, good things can happen.”