It’s been the Union Titans’ year in the intense rivalry with the Camas Papermakers.
The showdowns between these two 4A powerhouse sports programs have been classics, especially this year in football, when the Titans edged out the Papermakers 14-7, igniting a post-season run that ended with Union winning the state championship crown Camas wore just two years ago.
Several football players from both schools moved straight to the hardwood to play basketball this season, and, on Dec. 17, in front of a large home crowd, the Titans again topped the Papermakers 79-63.
Union’s offense penetrated the Camas defense and used quick passes to find open shooters.
“When you hit (3-pointers) like they can, they are going to make you run the entire floor and you could see the fatigue setting in during the fourth quarter for us,” Camas boys head basketball coach Ryan Josephson said.
Every time these two top notch programs face each other, Camas players from all sports say they can feel the rivalry.
“Coach says it’s just another game, but deep down we do have more fight in us and a bit of a chip on our shoulders,” Camas point guard Carson Bonine said.
Bonine played well in the first half of the rivalry game, leading the Papermakers’ defensive strategy, which kept the game close for most of the game.
“No (3-pointers), just get stops, that was our strategy — for our defense to lead to our offense. We tried to focus on that,” Bonine said after the tough loss.
Camas High junior Jackson Clemmer, the team’s 6’7″ forward, showed growth in his game with some impressive post play.
“I’m usually too fast with the ball, but now I’m just trying to slow down a bit before I take my shots,” Clemmer said.
Despite the loss, coach Josephson said Clemmer’s improvement on the offensive end is a very good sign of things to come, because the team will need his inside scoring ability later in the season.
Papermakers bounce back
Two nights after the Dec. 17 rivalry showdown, the Papermakers were back home, squaring off with the Heritage High Timberwolves.
The Camas team responded to its Union loss with an offensive explosion, beating the Timberwolves 88-74.
Bonine again led the Papermakers, scoring 24 points including five of his team’s 14 3-pointers.
After the first quarter, Camas was sitting on a 26-13 lead, but Heritage battled back in the second quarter and was only down 3 points at halftime.
In the second half, Camas senior Isaiah Sampson and Clemmer controlled play in the paint. Sampson finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Clemmer continued his improved offensive play with 10 points.
Clemmer said he is already looking forward to playing Union again this season on Jan. 18.
“Gotta be more aggressive, because they (Union) bring energy and we need to bring even more than they do next time,” Clemmer said.