The Camas boys basketball team is off to a hot start this season, easily winning their first two games, and players believe this could be a history-making year.
Making a run at state is a dream that second-year head coach Ryan Josephson has had since graduating from Camas High School in 2002.
“I want every year to be an improvement upon the success of the previous season, but this year’s team is going to be a tough act to follow,” Josephson said.
The Camas Papermakers won their first two non-league games, opening the season with a 70-24 victory over Hillsboro High, out of Hillsboro, Oregon, on Nov. 30, then following with a 56-41 win against the Auburn Mountainview High Lions from Auburn, Washington, on Dec. 1.
Senior Isaiah Sampson returns
The Papermakers are led by all-league 6’6″ guard, Isaiah Sampson, who is back for his senior year after dominating the competition the past two seasons.
Josephson said he is excited to see what Sampson can accomplish during his senior season.
“He’s more athletic and skilled, more confident, and has grown as a leader,” Josephson said.
Sampson said he thinks Camas will be at an advantage this year, thanks to taller players.
“Last year, we had only two ‘bigs,’ and this year we have at least four, and that’s going to make a big difference, especially since everyone on the perimeter can shoot and drive to the basket,” Sampson said.
Camas senior Carson Bonine was a consistent starter at point guard last season, and his coaches said he has elevated his game with hard work during the offseason. Those coaches also expect Bonine’s confidence to make a big difference on the season.
“I like the way our team is looking right now,” Bonine said. “Our chemistry is a lot better than I thought it would be. We still have a lot to improve on, but our base is really good.”
Seniors impressed coaches in the offseason
Bonine and Sampson are joined by a large group of seniors that inspires their coach.
“I have never witnessed a group of young men invest so much of themselves in the offseason. They have consistently been in open gyms, developed themselves as leaders and spent countless hours in the weight room,” Josephson said.
Camas senior Zach Chilian said the team is really gelling because of all the experienced varsity players.
“It’s nice because, last year, I think we had only two returning players, and now we actually have a bunch of people who played varsity last year, which is so nice,” Chilian said.
The team’s 6’6″ forward, Shane Jamison, is another senior looking for magic in his last high school basketball season. He sat out during the first two games because of a knee injury that ended his football season, but said he feels good and is close to getting the all-clear from his doctors.
“I want to help the team the best I can, and hopefully win a league championship and also make a run in the state playoffs,” Jamison said.
Josephson said his roster is one of the deepest he has seen at Camas in recent memory.
“If we can get all the great individual abilities of these players to work together, we hope to make a push into the playoffs and maybe even make some history,” Josephson said.