Papermakers are now back-to-back 4A GSHL champs
CAMAS — The Camas Papermakers earned a league championship a year ago.
This year, they learned how to defend that title.
Courtney Clemmer scored 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting, and the Papermakers never trailed after the first quarter Friday night in a 53-33 victory over the Union Titans.
The win clinches the 2017-18 Class 4A Greater St. Helens League girls basketball title.
“It’s not a fluke. We proved it,” Clemmer said. “This year, we definitely had to keep up our energy. We had to be a team.”
The Papermakers used last year’s league title to jumpstart a playoff run that led them to the Tacoma Dome for the first time in program history. This year, they were no longer the underdog.
“The target was on us,” Camas coach Scott Preuninger said. “The girls handled it really well. They knew they were going to get everyone’s best shot.”
Yet so far, no other team in the league has been able to beat Camas. The Papermakers improved to 7-0 in the GSHL, two games up on second-place Union with one game to play.
“We all came out super pumped, playing together super motivated to win this,” said Haley Hanson, who added nine points in Friday’s clincher. “I think we did very good.”
Clemmer’s basket in the closing minutes of the first quarter ignited a 17-0 run that lasted until the final seven seconds of the second quarter. Clemmer and Hanson each had six points during the turning point of the game.
Up 15 at the half, the Papermakers never allowed Union to get within single digits the rest of the game.
“We knew it was on their floor, in front of their home crowd,” Clemmer said. “We just had to be the best we could.”
Preuninger said his team did, in fact, play at a high level all night, noting that Union is a good team with several talented players.
“We’re not 20 points better than them,’’ he said. “We just played well, and they didn’t have one of their better games.”
The Papermakers shot shot 54 percent from the floor, while holding Union to 26 percent. Clemmer also had three blocked shots. Maggie Wells and Clemmer each had seven rebounds, and Marianna Payne grabbed six. No one from Union had more than four.
“The girls are playing to their strengths,” Preuninger said. “Defensively, they are just playing hard.”
Fitting, of course, for a team defending a league championship.
Camas will finish off the regular season next week and as the No. 1 seed from the GSHL will host a bi-district playoff game Feb. 8.
Notes: Mason Oberg and Rebekah Barney each scored eight points to lead Union. … The Titans fell to 4-2 in league play and remain in second place. … For more on this game, and other notes from girls and boys basketball, check back to the site on Monday.