The Warehouse was rocking and rolling Jan. 25, as Camas basketball fans watched the Papermaker boys beat their rivals from down the road for the first time in six years.
The Union boys were the top ranked team in the 4A Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s Rating Percentage Index. Nobody in the league could beat the Titans since 2013. All of that changed when Camas scored the last night points in the game to defeat Union 50-47.
The Camas crowd was going wild, while the Papermaker players and coaches walked off the court showing respect to their rivals. They saved their celebration until they were in the locker room.
“You can’t lie. It was good to finally get that win. It’s been a long time,” said head coach Skyler Gillispie. “I told the guys, ‘Celebrate, have fun and enjoy it. But at the end of the day, if that’s our best part of the season, we’re probably somewhere we don’t want to be.'”
The Titans charged ahead by six points in the fourth quarter, but then the Papermakers rallied. Alex Glikbarg nailed a big 3-pointer in the final two minutes to help Camas reclaim the lead.
“I’ve never been so focused in a game in my entire life,” Glikbarg said. “It wasn’t even just on that shot. It was every time we scored the whole game. We were getting hyped, pounding our chest and screamming.”
The Papermakers needed a stop on defense. Cooper McNatt stepped up to the ball handler and drew a charge.
Union got the ball back, only to have it stolen away by Camas. Glikbarg passed the ball to Logan Miller on a breakaway for two more points.
“That was big to get a 3-point lead,” Miller said. “I’m glad that went in.”
The Titans attempted a few more 3-point shots, but the ball kept bouncing off the rim. The final buzzer sounded, and the victory belonged to Camas.
“They had their all-time leading scorer shooting a three, and their point guard got another good look at it,” Gillispie said. “My heart was kind of expecting one to fall because it’s happened to us in the past. But it didn’t. The basketball gods rewarded us for once.”
Glikbarg, Miller, McNatt, Tanner Fogle, Bryan Nguyen, Hayden Hunsaker, Nathan Chilian, Levi Gilstrap and assistant coach Jake Hansel were honored on Senior Night Friday. Camas then beat Battle Ground 62-43.
“It’s just awesome to see the guys you have played with since second grade all walking out on the court for Senior Night and hearing our names called,” Fogle said. “It happened so quickly, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
Miller was surprised to see all the photos and keepsakes put together for the seniors in the entry way.
“It kind of brought you down memory lane and reminded you why you started playing basketball,” he said. “We all found out we had something in common, and that friendship just took off from there.”
Gillispie said this is a special group of high school seniors. It’s easy to take them for granted because they have been such a staple to the program for four years. He hopes he doesn’t have to say “goodbye” to them for a few more weeks.
“We’re going to go up north and play some pretty good teams,” Gillispie said. “Hopefully, this preseason and all the hard work we did in the offseason has us prepared for anything.”
One way or the other, this high school basketball season is going to end for these Papermakers. But their brotherhood is forever.