Camas girls basketball team advances to state quarterfinals, and then the Camas boys basketball team qualifies for the Tacoma Dome for the first time in program history
Two basketball teams.
And both will still be playing in March.
It is a Camas celebration, multiplied.
Yes, the Camas girls and boys teams have made it to the final week of their basketball seasons and both will be playing in the Tacoma Dome.
“It just means a lot to the Camas community, Camas High School, the Camas culture, and both programs,” said Addison Harris, who scored 19 points Friday night in the girls’ win over Kamiakin in a state regional seeding game at Battle Ground High School.
“We’re going to be supporting the girls. The girls are going to be supporting us,” added Theo McMillan, who was instrumental in the boys’ comeback victory over West Valley of Yakima in a state regional elimination game. “It’s going to be awesome.”
The Camas girls basketball team already knew it was going to the Tacoma Dome for the final week. Friday’s victory, though, means the Papermakers get to move directly into the quarterfinals.
That was just the start of something special for the Camas faithful.
A couple hours later, the Camas boys basketball team survived an elimination game to advance to the Tacoma Dome as well.
Going to the dome will be new for the boys program. Camas made it to state regionals — not the dome — in 2015. One has to go back to the 1960s for the previous trips to the state tournament, long before the dome was a thing.
With Friday’s win, the Camas boys are headed to the round of 12 and will play in another elimination game at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday against Tahoma.
The girls get a first-round bye in Tacoma and won’t play until the quarterfinals at 9 p.m. Thursday. The Camas girls finished fourth in state last year but have bigger goals this season.
Here is how it happened Friday night at Battle Ground High School:
Class 4A Girls
No. 2 Camas 52, No. 7 Kamiakin 48
The Camas Papermakers debuted their new shooting shirts prior to Friday night’s Class 4A state regional girls basketball game, with that special message.
The shirt has the map of the state of Washington, Joe Papermaker spinning a basketball, and a route from Camas to the Tacoma Dome.
Well, the Papermakers already knew they going to the dome prior to Friday’s game.
Now they know they can go straight to the state quarterfinals.
Oh, and they are also getting a key player back at the perfect time.
Reagan Jamison, who has missed the last two months with a hip injury, returned to game action Friday night and made an immediate impact.
Her steal and lay-up in the final minute of the game gave Camas a four-point lead, and seconds later, she got another steal to secure the victory.
“It was awesome to step up like that. It was good to see I still have it,” Jamison said.
She does, and the Papermakers needed that effort, too.
Camas was cruising, up 16 early in the third quarter before the Braves went on a run. The momentum was Kamiakin’s when Maddy Rendall banked in a 3-pointer to tie the game with 1:38 to play.
After a Camas turnover, the Braves had the ball and chance to take the lead.
Nope. Not against the Camas defense.
Parker Mairs’ hustle on a Kamiakin inbound play forced a turnover. Camas took advantage, with Harris completing a step-through move in the key to give Camas a 50-48 lead with 48 seconds to play.
“All through my mind, it was ‘Run faster, jump higher, rebound more, box-out hard.’ All those tiny little details,” Harris said of her mentality after Kamiakin rallied to tie the game.
Then it was Jamison’s moment to shine.
She got a steal, starting her one-person fast break to the other side of the court for a basket and a four-point lead. Then she got that second steal, securing the victory.
“I was a little surprised that she took over in the final 45 seconds because that’s a big ask,” Camas coach Scott Thompson said.
Then again, he pondered, and then realized he wasn’t that surprised.
“She looked amazing in practice all week. She looks like she’s ready,” Thompson said. “She’s back.”
In fact, Thompson said that physically, Jamison might be in the best shape of her life. Certainly not condition-wise, but strength wise. He noted that she never missed a physical therapy workout. She kept getting stronger as her injured hip healed.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Jamison said. “I didn’t think I was coming back this year, so that was awesome.”
A year ago, Harris suffered an injury in the bi-district tournament and was unable to play at state. Jamison stepped up, becoming the team’s leading scorer and rebounder in the postseason en route to the team’s fourth-place finish.
Now, the Papermakers will head to Tacoma, looking for victories Thursday and Friday to put them in the championship game next Saturday night.
Riley Sanz scored 13 points for Camas in Friday’s regional game. Her 3-pointer early in the third quarter gave Camas a 34-18 lead.
Kamiakin did not give in, though, taking advantage of a rebounding advantage for second-chance opportunities. The Braves also made seven 3-pointers in the second half.
Even after the game was tied, Camas had an answer.
“It’s so awesome,” Jamison said. “I missed it so much. Waiting for two months it felt like the longest time. My team held it down for me pretty well.”
Class 4A Boys
No. 10 Camas 64, West Valley of Yakima 53
Gotta go back to 1962 for the last time a Camas boys basketball team won a game in the state tournament. (And yes, state regional games do count as state tournament games.)
Point of reference: the Tacoma Dome opened in 1983.
For the first time, a Camas boys basketball team will be playing in the dome.
“We’ve been talking about it since freshman year,” said senior Jamison Carlisle, who scored seven of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to help the Papermakers complete their comeback. “We wanted to be the first in Camas history to do it.”
McMillan scored eight of his 14 points in the final quarter.
“I can’t wait to see the banner up in the gym that says State,” he said.
Beckett Currie got the comeback started with three 3-pointers in the third quarter. He finished with a team-high 18 points, scoring 13 in the second half.
“That’s the goal at the start of every season, to make it there,” Currie said. “The fact that we put it together is a big deal. It’s a great feeling.”
For a half, though, it looked as if Camas was going to miss out on the dome again.
West Valley scored the first seven points of the game and extended the advantage to 11 at the half.
No problem for these Papermakers.
“We faced adversity all year. It wasn’t really anything new,” Currie said. “It’s time to take care of business and do what we’ve got to do and get it together.”
Go time for Camas.
Currie connected on back-to-back 3-pointers in the first minute of the second half.
Jace VanVoorhis and Ethan Harris made 3-pointers to conclude the third quarter, pulling Camas to within two points.
McMillan gave the Papermakers the lead at 49-47, and West Valley never recovered. A 15-2 run from the end of the third quarter midway through the fourth put this one away for Camas.
“It was just a total team effort,” McMillan said. “Everyone brought the energy. We started moving the ball and getting people open. It was amazing.”
For the boys program, it was historic.
When it was over, the Camas community celebrated together on the court. Addison Harris said both teams going to the dome will be convenient for her parents. Her younger brother Ethan is on the boys team.
Carlisle enjoyed these moments, too.
“It’s really fun seeing us win side by side,” he said.
Also Friday, the Seton Catholic Cougars had their own magic in the state regionals.
Class 1A Boys
No. 14 Seton Catholic 62, Seattle Christian 53, OT
Seton Catholic scored the first seven points of overtime to clinch a trip to the Yakima Valley SunDome for the first time in program history.
Seton Catholic had lost its previous two trips to state regionals. Now, the Cougars get to play in the final week of the season for the first time.
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