The Camas High School girls basketball players didn’t just want to get to the Tacoma Dome. They wanted to win there, too.
The Papermakers checked another goal off the list after they defeated the Eastlake Wolves 44-36 Wednesday, in the first round of the 4A state girls tournament.
Haley Hanson led the way with 16 points. She hit a 3-pointer during a 16-0 run for Camas between the second and third quarters. After Eastlake rallied within two points in the fourth quarter, Hanson made 5 of 6 free throws to help the Papermakers pull away.
“It was an amazing feeling,” Hanson said. “On the bus, we were all saying, ‘We’re not going to lose this game.’ We wanted prove ourselves and put Camas on the map. We finished that game, and it was the best feeling ever.”
Emma Jones got Camas going with seven points, nine rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot.
“I love defense. It’s my favorite part of the game,” Jones said. “Getting those steals, especially in big games like this, is so rewarding. It makes you feel like all those practices and all the time you have put in pays off.”
Eastlake started out with a six-point lead in the first quarter. Maggie Wells came off the bench for the Papermakers, scored six points and grabbed five rebounds.
“Just had to win,” Wells said. “It was win or go home. Just had to do it.”
Courtney Clemmer collected six points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. Madison Freemon added seven points and five rebounds. She tied the score at 17 on a 3-pointer in the second quarter. Camas then scored 16 unanswered points to build a 30-17 advantage.
Eastlake rallied with two threes in the fourth quarter. Jones countered with a big basket. Hanson then got hot, and scored nine of her 16 points in the game’s final four minutes.
“Last week, she had a tough game, but she totally redeemed herself,” Jones said of Hanson. “She’s a player who can come back like that, and we can count on her.”
Camas lost to Bellarmine Prep and Kentlake in the final minutes. Head coach Scott Preuninger said this time, the Papermakers were ready.
“Even when they made their run and we were missing close range shots, the girls never lost their composure,” he said. “More than anything, they stayed together and got it done on both ends. I couldn’t be happier for them.”
Camas faces Moses Lake in the quarterfinals Thursday, at 9 p.m.
“I think that we’re ready to play them, and I think that we’re ready to win,” Jones said. “Celebrate this win tonight, and then come back tomorrow ready to play and compete.”