Final home game of the regular season was for the seniors, who dedicated their night to an assistant coach battling cancer
Clark County Today
The Camas Papermakers hope they have another month of girls basketball.
The state championship game, after all, is set for March 2.
That’s the goal, to return to the state finals. And this season, the Papermakers want to walk off the court a winner after finishing second in 2023 and fourth in 2022.
The next four weeks will determine all of that.
But on Friday night, with a whole month left in the season, there was the ceremonial beginning of the end for five seniors who have enjoyed the greatest success in program history.
Friday night was Senior Night for the Papermakers, playing in front of a standing room only crowd at Camas High School.
Camas dispatched Union 70-35 to clinch the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League title. All five seniors were in the starting lineup. And all five got an individual shout-out in pregame. But they also shared their moment with an assistant coach. More on that later.
Four of the seniors — Addison Harris, Reagan Jamison, Parker Mairs, and Riley Sanz — are four-year varsity players. The fifth, Brianna Forbess, was a JV player for two seasons, made varsity last year, and then became an integral part of the rotation, a strong player off the bench for the Papermakers this season.
A year ago, with just one senior on the team, Forbess got to start on Senior Night, a nice gesture from her coaches and teammates for her hard work.
On Friday night, she got her second career varsity start.
“It just felt really special. It made me realize just how big of a community it really is, running out and facing the whole crowd and seeing your family and friends. It’s just really nice,” Forbess said.
The crowd was massive. Huge student sections sandwiching a packed parent section. The large, talented Camas band in the upper bleachers. Oh, and fans standing, leaning on the balcony rails surround the court. All to watch this special team.
Forbess might not be considered a star, but she has made quite an impact this season on the court. And in front of the biggest crowd of the season, she got the start in the final scheduled home game of the season.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the teammates that I have,” Forbess said of her improvement. “Because they are so good, and I work with them in practice every day. They push me to be my best.”
Her skills have landed her an opportunity in college, too. She plans to play for the University of Puget Sound next season.
Harris ended up with a team-high 20 points in Friday’s win. She, too, celebrated Senior Night, but she dedicated the game to assistant coach John Griffin.
Besides Senior Night, it was also Block Cancer Night at Camas. At halftime of the boys game, which was played before the girls game, Griffin was recognized for his fight with cancer. Fans from both schools cheered for the longtime teacher, coach, and athletic director.
“This was for Coach Griff,” Harris said. “He’s been through it. Every time (the season) seems hard for me, I think of him. He’s going through chemotherapy and still coming to practice and still showing up to our games. The fact that we were able to honor him, and the fact the community backed us on that, was really special.”
Harris has signed with Montana State. She said she is an “outdoorsy” person, so that fits. Plus, the culture at Montana State reminds her of the culture at Camas.
“I’m a really big family person,” Harris said. “Going away is going to be hard for me. I’ll get homesick. They (the Bobcats) are going to be the family-type culture I want.”
Sanz expects to play college basketball, too, but she doesn’t know where just yet. Whichever program gets her will be getting a clutch shooter. She made three 3-pointers Friday and scored 15 points.
“This team means everything to me. It’s everything I look forward to in a day, coming to practice, hanging out with my friends. It’s such a fun environment to be in. I’m so glad I get to play basketball with them.”
In a way, Sanz can’t believe that there is only a month left, that she was part of Senior Night already.
“It’s surreal. We’ve gone through it with other seniors,” Sanz said. “My freshman year, we had four seniors graduate. They were such big role models for us. It’s crazy that these four years have gone by so fast.”
Mairs is one of those athletes who would probably excel in any sport she tried. In fact, she will be playing soccer at Colorado Mesa University. Make no mistake, she is a basketball player, too, a defensive gem who will also knock down a big shot or two every game.
“I just do basketball for fun,” she said, adding that there is no better team to have fun with than this Camas girls basketball team. “Just a bunch of great girls, people who surround me.”
She came off the court a little earlier than expected, fouling out. But she loved the reaction of her teammates.
“A great way to go out,” Mairs said. “I just felt loved.”
Jamison is taking her skills — from the court and in the classroom — to the Ivy League next year. She will be a student-athlete at Penn. She said academics has always been a priority for her, and she wants to follow in her parents’ footsteps, to shine in business.
Jamison is grateful for everything this team has accomplished and is hoping to accomplish.
The seniors lost only one game to a Southwest Washington opponent in their four years — and that was in the abbreviated season when they were freshmen. These Papermakers have not lost a regular-season game to a Washington school since they were sophomores. Earlier this year, the team played in Washington D.C., as well as a prestigious tournament in Portland against some of the best teams in the country. On Wednesday, the Papermakers defeated Clackamas, the defending Oregon Class 6A state champions.
“This has been a great opportunity,” Jamison said. “Not many people are on such a successful high school team. Not many people get to do the things that our high school team does, to play at a high level like we do.”
She came out of the game Friday night to huge applause, as well.
“It’s super emotional. All the emotions, all the thoughts,” Jamison said. “All we wanted to do was hug our teammates and just be together.”
Harris was the last senior taken out of the game on Senior Night. She had to wipe away tears as she hugged her teammates and coaches.
“It made it pretty real,” Harris said. “We’ve been watching it for three years, happening to all the other seniors. It seemed like it was so far away.”
Not anymore. It’s here.
The phenomenal freshmen from that bizarre spring season in 2021 are now seasoned seniors in the winter of 2024.
They celebrated their four seasons on Friday night.
Next, it will be time to focus on the immediate future, one month of basketball with one goal in mind.
- State basketball Thursday: Camas cruises in quarterfinals, with help from everyoneThe Camas girls basketball team had no problems in the state quarterfinals Thursday, rolling past Tahoma en route to the Class 4A state semifinals.
- State basketball Thursday: Skyview boys fall in quarterfinalsDemaree Collins scored 31 points Thursday night for the Skyview Storm, but the Davis Pirates got the job done down the stretch for a six-point victory in the Class 4A boys basketball state quarterfinals.
- State basketball Thursday: Clark County small schools lose in quarterfinalsSeton Catholic and Columbia Adventist Academy boys, and Columbia River girls lost Thursday in the elite eight of their respective tournaments.
- Like mother, like daughter?Camas standout Addison Harris is attempting to follow in her mother’s footsteps as the Camas Papermakers attempt to win a state basketball championship this week at the Tacoma Dome.
- State basketball Wednesday: Skyview boys advance to quarterfinals; Camas fallsThe Skyview Storm got defensive again, and they won again in the Class 4A boys basketball state tournament, advancing to the quarterfinals, and a few hours later, Camas just missed a trip to the elite eight, falling in the round of 12.