Papermakers have something special going that might lead to years of dominance
It is all about today.
It is all about tomorrow.
One does not have to sacrifice for the other.
There is no state tournament this year, so the Camas girls basketball program, the 2021 team, can only measure itself against regional competition.
The Papermakers will take on Class 4A and 3A Greater St. Helens League teams. They hope to be the best in the area. They work toward that goal. Right now.
The seniors on the 2021 team also have a long-term goal. They want to see the 2022 team accomplish things never before done in the program. They want the 2023 and 2024 teams to exceed expectations.
And if, just if, the Camas girls basketball team wins a state championship in the coming years, the Class of 2021 players will take pride, knowing they helped along the way.
Faith Bergstrom, Jalena Carlisle, and Katelynn Forner are the three senior leaders. The Papermakers also have five freshmen on varsity.
Coach Scott Thompson has an interesting rotation: Wave after wave of players enter the game, wearing down opponents.
Just like the waves of talent flowing into Camas girls basketball.
Again, five players from the Class of 2024 are on varsity. Six more freshmen are on the junior varsity squad. Oh, and the eighth graders? Word is that they make for a special group, as well.
Today, though, it is the Class of ‘21 welcoming the Class of ‘24.
“It’s really cool to be able to play with this team,” Forner said. “I was excited from Day 1 to know Reagan Jamison, Ava Smith, Riley Sanz, Addison Harris, and Parker Mains, all of them, I knew they were coming up.”
For a while, no one was certain there would be a final high school basketball season for the seniors.
Now that they are playing, they understand that their roles are to win now, as much as they can in this abbreviated season, and show the younger talent the path to victory in the future.
That would include the juniors and sophomore, as well. Samuel Guffy, Callie Ulin, and Ashley Bauer are the juniors, and Anna Mooney is the sophomore on the squad.
“My goal is to get these girls prepared, train with them, and get them ready,” Forner said. “Because I know what’s coming ahead and what they can do. They’re going to do big things. Just to be able to play with them right now is amazing.”
On Friday, Camas jumped out to a fast start. Forner made four 3-pointers in a row in the first quarter, and the Papermakers topped rival Union 60-41. Forner, by the way, counted on her fingers each time, as those shots went through the hoop.
“Trust me, I’m as shocked as everyone else,” Forner said, noting she is not known for her 3-point shooting.
The second wave came into the game, and Jamison buried her first 3-pointer of the night. In all, Camas made six of its first seven from 3-point range.
Later, it was more of an inside attack. Bergstrom scored 16 of her game-high 24 points in the second half. Union, a solid team that promises to put up a better fight in the next matchup against the Papermakers, never got within 10 points.
With SB Live Washington in attendance, the Papermakers put on a show. Reporter Todd Milles noted: “In time, if the pipeline of up-and-coming talent holds up, Camas … should be in position to do things in girls basketball it has never accomplished in school history.
“Including contending for a Class 4A title.”
Jamison said the Papermakers cannot get caught up in all of the hype just yet.
“I don’t think anyone on our team cares too much about the media (attention),” Jamison said. “We just go out there every day and trust each other. So we don’t really worry about it.”
Still, the long-term goal is to win a state title. Or titles.
“They will,” Forner promised. “They will.”
“We have to keep developing a family,” Jamison said. “Get the younger kids in here, the future of Camas.”
Notice that Jamison, a freshman, is also already thinking about the younger talent, as well.
It is all about that ultimate goal.
“We’re trying to get a ring,” Jamison said. “I think we’ll have a pretty good chance at it.”
If it does happen, maybe buy honorary rings for the Class of 2021?
“I met with my seniors before the season started,” Camas coach Scott Thompson said. “We called it a leadership summit. It’s such a unique group. It is so team-first in everything they do.”
From that summit came two missions.
“One said, ‘I want to make the freshmen as good as they possibly can get, so when we leave, we’ve made them better at basketball,’” Thompson said.
“The next one said, ‘I just want them to understand how much we work every day. I want to make sure when we leave, those girls are working the way we worked every day in practice. And they compete in every drill in every second that they do.’”
In a typical year, the goal would be to earn a trophy at state.
In this pandemic season, the goal is make sure future teams get a trophy.
“How can you ask for better seniors?” Thompson asked. “Their game is great. Their leadership skills are even better. They are leaving so much behind in this program. They built something special, and we absolutely love them for it.”