In a season that started with a new coaching staff, new systems, new plays, and even new players, as most starters from last year’s league championship team graduated, the Camas girls basketball has pushed through the changes to continue its championship ways.
On Jan. 30, the Papermakers became 4A league champions for the second straight year after a dominating 74-19 victory over Battle Ground in the Camas gym.
The victory means Camas will share the 4A Greater St. Helens League Championship with the Union Titans.
It was an extra special night for seniors, as they were celebrated during a senior night ceremony before the game.
Senior all-league guard Haley Hanson has been on the varsity team for the past three years, so she knows the glory of playing on a team that has made it to the state tournament in Tacoma.
“It’s awesome, and we don’t want to be done in a few games,” Hanson said after her team took the league title on Jan. 30. “We want to get to the Tacoma Dome again for a third time in a row.”
Papermakers beat Union for top playoff seed
As sweet as the girls’ Jan. 30 victory over Battle Ground was, things looked even better for the Papermakers just two nights later. That’s when the Camas girls played a tiebreaker against Union — the Papermakers’ co-league championship title holder and the only team in the league that beat Camas this season, in a 53-44 defeat on Jan. 18.
This time, however, it was Camas who came out on top, beating the Titans 52-45 and clinching the No. 1 seed in the upcoming bi-district tournament.
The young Camas team is quickly becoming known for selfless play and passing up good shots for great shots.
Sophomore post Faith Bergstrom led the Papermakers in scoring, with 13 against Union. Another Camas sophomore, Jalena Carlisle, had nine points and Hannah Booth and Haley Hanson each had eight points.
But the points aren’t really the point, said Hanson.
“I think we are a family that loves each other,” she said. “And we don’t care who scores the most points.”
Young team exceeds expectations
Camas girls basketball head coach Scott Thompson said his team has already exceeded all expectations, but he believes the best is still to come, as the team is peaking at the right time.
“It’s an amazing group that’s full of energy and passion, and they work extremely hard every day in practice and now they get to hang a league championship banner in the gym and they deserve it,” Thompson said.
This is Thompson’s first year of coaching a girls’ team, after leading the Fort Vancouver boys varsity basketball program as head coach for nine seasons.
One of the keys to the Camas girls’ success may be the difficult and challenging road the Papermakers took early in the season. Camas’ early losses — to some of the best teams in Oregon and Washington — helped the young team discover its own unique identity.
“We determined having an unselfish locker room and team makes us special,” Thompson said. “Sharing and making the extra pass … it’s something this team really embraces.”