Eastlake tops Camas 48-41 in girls basketball state finals Saturday night
A team built for today and tomorrow will have to wait until tomorrow to claim its first state championship in girls basketball.
That’s because a team of destiny, playing on house money, if you will, completed its improbable run to a state title.
Eastlake, which survived in the quarterfinals on a half-court shot at the buzzer, kept that momentum for two more days, culminating with a 48-41 over the Camas Papermakers in the Tacoma Dome on Saturday night.
Camas came up just short of its ultimate goal, but with a roster of juniors, sophomores, and freshmen, the Papermakers know there will be more opportunities.
With that said, this Camas team still made school history, becoming the first Papermakers basketball team to play in a state championship game. Last year’s team finished fourth in state. This year, second.
Only time will tell, but this week in Tacoma is sure to fuel the fire, to inspire the Papermakers to not feel this way on championship Saturday again.
Camas had to beat the best of the best to reach the championship game. The Papermakers beat No. 1 Woodinville in the quarterfinals and then No. 3 Tahoma in the semifinals.
Only a team that seemed destined to win after Thursday’s sports-miracle-of-a-shot saved the day. The Wolves trailed by a point with 1.4 seconds to play and got a pass to halfcourt and a shot to stun Bellarmine Prep. After that, things must have seemed easy for the Wolves, who beat Kamiakin in the semifinals.
Then they knocked off Camas, a team not afraid of challenges.
The Papermakers, who trailed 26-12 at halftime, faced the challenge of coming back from a 14-point deficit in the second half Saturday. They were within four points of making that comeback, at 37-33, when junior Riley Sanz took a pass from Kendall Mairs and sank a 3-pointer with 2:12 remaining in the game.
The Papermakers’ deficit was still at four points when Sanz added another 3-pointer, her fifth of the game, to make the score 43-39 with 20 seconds left to play. Addison Harris quickly added a layup and Camas was within two points with just 16 seconds left in the game.
Camas was then forced to foul and Eastlake’s Kaylia Jackson made two free throws to push the lead back to four, at 45-41 with 15 seconds to go. Eastlake added three more made free throws (in four attempts) to create the final score of 48-41.
Sanz led the Papermakers with 15 points, making five of her nine attempts from behind the 3-point line. Harris added nine points and 12 rebounds.
Camas finished the season 24-4, a record for wins. And the four losses were to the Washington state champion, the defending Oregon state champion, the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, and an Oregon power that the Papermakers split two matchups with this season.
Earlier in the day, the Papermakers had their final scout session and shootaround of this season. It hit the players that no matter what was going to happen on Saturday night, the season was going to come to an end.
“I don’t really think it’s sunk in for everyone. It’s just a surreal moment right now,” said Sanz, taking a break from making 3-pointers at the shootaround. “It’s definitely sad that the season is about to end, but we’ll do it again next year.”
And next year, the Papermakers hope for one more victory on a Saturday in March.
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- Opinion: Seton Catholic’s loss in state semifinals reminiscent of Hockinson’s rise to gloryHigh school football: Seton Catholic lost in the Class 1A state semifinals on Saturday in a game that reminded an old coach, and old journalist, of a game in 2014 that would eventually catapult Hockinson to back-to-back state championships.