Camas High School senior basketball players Connor Shira, Kyle Allen, Ryan Rushall, Jack Glikbarg, Ben Cooke and Gabe Mukobi are ready for the next level.
Returning varsity starters Tre Carlisle and Isaiah Sampson are excited about what they see.
“Every time I think about this, I get butterflies in my stomach. I’m thinking about the crowd, I’m thinking about the lights, all the music and stuff,” Carlisle said. “Everybody from the fans to the guys on the bench to the players on the floor — we’re all one.”
New head coach Ryan Josephson hopes he can take these Papermakers to the next level, something he’s dreamed of since graduating from Camas High School in 2002.
“It’s a dream that you hope for, when you join your alma mater’s basketball program and you were a player in that program. You hope that one day, you get the opportunity to lead,” Josephson said. “Now having this opportunity; it’s a tremendous honor. I remember all the life experiences that I had being a part of this program, and I want to make sure that I’m giving my players the best possible memories I can.”
Standing tall at 6-feet, 6-inches, but with the speed of a guard, Sampson had a breakout season for the Papermakers during his sophomore year, when he earned second-team all-league honors.
“Just always stay ready. Just always listen to what coach is talking about, because you never know when your number is going to be called,” Sampson said. “That’s something that I learned last year, and that’s what I’m bringing into this year.”
As the senior captain, Carlisle has high expectations for himself and his teammates.
“I’m just hoping to give everything. I don’t want to walk out of here with any regrets,” he said. “I don’t want to be shooting the ball all the time, or anything like that, but I just want to make sure I’m making the most of it — getting my teammates involved and pushing each other every day to get better.”
Josephson loves the enthusiasm these Papermakers are bringing to the gym every day. With time, effort and trust in the process, he believes they can make another deep run into the playoffs.
“They play with such a tremendous pace, as we’re going up and down the court. They’re diving after loose balls. So already, they look like they’re ready to get out there for these games,” Josephson said. “I want to push these guys in a positive way, and I want to help them realize that they can achieve goals that are above and beyond what they expected. That’s one of the best things I remember. By putting in the hard work, you can do more than you even thought was possible.”