Battle tested Camas girls off to hot start in league play

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Camas High junior Jalena Carlisle celebrates after the clock winds down during the Papermakers' 52-44 win over Camas on Jan. 7.

The Camas girls basketball team is 2-0 in 4A Greater St. Helens League play after beating Union 52-44 in front of a packed home crowd on Jan. 7.

“It feels good because (the Titans) are a really good team,” Camas senior Faith Bergstrom said.

Three nights later, the Papermakers posted a 52-27 blowout victory over Heritage.

Camas earned its hot start the hard way after a very tough early-season schedule. The Papermakers faced some of the best teams in Oregon, including Jesuit, Sheldon and West Linn, plus Punahou, one of Hawaii’s best teams.

Camas lost several close games and came into league play with a 5-5 record.

“We came out a little roughed up at 5-5, and I know that was hard for a lot of the girls because we feel like we are a really special team and our record didn’t really show it,” Papermakers coach Scott Thompson said. “It was nice to see it come together (against Union) and start to see all those pieces clicking where we put so much time in.”

Large crowd boosts Papermakers’ confidence

Papermakers fans came out in big numbers to see their team’s game against rival Union, creating a loud, intense environment. Bergstrom loved every minute of it, with the intensity helping to fuel her desire to dominate the game with rebounding and interior scoring.

“The atmosphere, with so many people there, really did contribute to us getting so hyped up,” said Bergstrom, who scored Camas’ first 10 points and finished the game with 24 points and 17 rebounds.

Bergstrom plays competitively year-round, and her hard work ethic has inspired the entire team, according to the Papermakers’ coaching staff.

“I felt like we saw a desire from her that was special,” Thompson said. “It looked like she just wanted it so bad, and I love seeing that out of her because she works so hard at this game to be so good.”

The Titans’ guards kept the game close throughout, but Camas guard Katelynn Forner used her athleticism to apply defensive pressure. The Papermakers’ defensive strategy was a real balancing act, according to Thompson.

“(Union’s) guards are ridiculous,” he said. “We didn’t want to get them going, so we were trying to press without them breaking us down and creating for their teammates.”

Camas’ Haylie Johnson hit a clutch 3-pointer with two minutes left in the game, then made free throws when the ticking clock forced the Titans to foul.

“I always have confidence,” Johnson said. “Even if I miss one, I just move on to the next play, which is what always matters. Tonight I know my team needed (the 3-pointer), so I shot it with confidence.”

Camas continues league play with a home game against Skyview (6-4) on Jan. 17.

Camas High junior Faith Bergstrom uses a hook shot to find nothing but net on this shot against Union on Jan. 7.
Camas High junior Faith Bergstrom uses a hook shot to find nothing but net on this shot against Union on Jan. 7. Bergstrom is fifhh in in the region, averaging 16 points per game. Photo