The Union vs. Camas games last week were special, and this week marks the start of the postseason for area teams
Get ready for a huge week for all high school basketball in Southwest Washington, and one of the final chances to see the big schools in action in Clark County.
Last week, Camas and Union faced each other in boys and girls basketball in front of a packed house at Union High School. Earlier this season, we wrote about the special rivalry and the atmosphere in the gymnasiums when these two teams, er, four teams square off against one another.
Friday did not disappoint.
The Union boys clinched a playoff spot and also still have a chance to tie for a league championship after rallying to beat Camas in the fourth quarter. Yanni Fassilis scored 31 points to lead the Titans to a 76-65 victory. Union held Camas to five points in the fourth quarter.
“There’s nothing like it,” Fassilis said. “These games, this year and last year, have been the most fun I’ve ever had playing basketball. Biggest crowd. Biggest rivalry. That’s what you live for.”
Later in the evening, the Camas girls clinched an outright league title, pulling away from Union in the second half. Keirra Thompson had a career-high 26 points to lead the Papermakers.
“Everyone’s worrying about our team,” Thompson said, naming off several teammates who have the talent to score in bunches. “It just left me open tonight.”
She and the Papermakers were in the corner of the gym watching the end of the boys game. They were bummed for their classmates, when the Union boys took down the Papermakers, but it gave them an extra boost of motivation.
“The crowd was going crazy,” Thompson said. “It gets us hyped. We were like, ‘There’s no way (Union) is winning two in a row.”
Indeed, the Camas girls took care of business in the second half to win 71-56.
As last week turns into this week, this is a good time to remind folks that this is one of the final weeks to see Class 4A and 3A basketball teams in Clark County. (Well, except for the teams that make it to state regionals and earn a seed that puts them in a nearby regional game. We’re looking at you, Camas girls.)
The 4A GSHL wraps up league games on Tuesday. Again, the Camas girls are the league champions. Union and Skyview take on each other in a huge contest as Union tries to tie Skyview for second place, forcing a tiebreaker later in the week.
The Camas boys are looking for a win against Battle Ground to secure the outright league title. If Camas loses, Union has a chance to tie for a league title.
All five boys teams are still playing in the 3A GSHL. Mountain View and Kelso have tied for the league title and will play a tiebreaker Monday at Skyview High School for the top seed going into bi-district. Then there is Evergreen, Heritage, and Prairie getting together Monday night at Union High School in a three-way tiebreaker for the final playoff berth.
The Evergreen girls won the 3A GSHL title last week, earning the top seed to bi-district. Prairie is second.
The 4A and 3A girls and boys bi-district tournaments have play-in games, with the traditional opening rounds on Friday and Saturday. The top two seeds from the GSHL will play home games.
The 2A GSHL completes its league play early this week in both boys and girls basketball. The district tournament will begin this weekend. Those teams will take on squads from the Evergreen Conference, meaning several will be played in Clark County. The Columbia River girls are the 2A GSHL league champions.
The King’s Way Christian Knights are the Trico League boys champions. They will host a game in the district tournament, which starts Friday night.
King’s Way Christian and Seton Catholic tied for the Trico girls title. They also host games at district, which starts Thursday.
Playoff basketball will take center stage this week, but it will be difficult for any of the big schools to match the enthusiasm, the intensity of Union-Camas regular season. For the most part, the 4A and 3A schools, even when playing home in the bi-district, will be playing teams from the Puget Sound area. Tough to get two big crowds. Then, after the opening rounds of bi-district, the games head north. Not easy to get a strong student section at those contests.
So for 4A basketball, nothing really comes close to Friday’s night’s celebration of the sport at Union High School
“This is high school basketball at its best,” Union boys coach Blake Conley said. “You feel every basket. You feel every turn, every basket on both sides, every rebound. Our guys rose to the occasion.”
“We were super motivated,” Yanni added. “We don’t want to lose to Camas ever. Doesn’t matter where it is, doesn’t matter what the stakes are. It’s the biggest game of the year. Every year.”
The Titans had plenty to play for, including the guarantee of a playoff berth. Plus, they kept Camas from clinching an outright league title on Union’s home court.
Most of the big crowd remained for the girls game, too.
Union’s Brooklynn Haywood scored 13 of her game-high 33 points in the first quarter as the Titans raced out to a 10-point lead against Camas, a team that has been ranked No. 1 or No. 2 all season in 4A Washington.
Thompson and the Papermakers rallied quickly, though. Thompson had 17 of her points in the first half, as Camas went up 35-32 at the break. The Papermakers owned the second half.
Camas will host Battle Ground on Tuesday in the regular-season finale, then prepare for the postseason.
“Get a ring,” Thompson said of the goal. “We’re winning state.”
Here are the links for the bi-district and district tournaments for Southwest Washington teams, which start this week:
- 4A boys: https://www.wiaadistrict4.com/wiaa/brackets/tournament.php?act=view&tournament_id=3820&sport=3&ps_type=1
- 3A boys: https://www.wiaadistrict4.com/wiaa/brackets/tournament.php?act=view&tournament_id=3824&sport=3&ps_type=1
- 2A boys: https://www.wiaadistrict4.com/wiaa/brackets/tournament.php?act=view&tournament_id=3838&sport=3&ps_type=1
- 1A boys: https://www.wiaadistrict4.com/wiaa/brackets/tournament.php?act=view&tournament_id=3867&sport=3&ps_type=1
- 4A girls: https://www.wiaadistrict4.com/wiaa/brackets/tournament.php?act=view&tournament_id=3821&sport=12&ps_type=1
- 3A girls: https://www.wiaadistrict4.com/wiaa/brackets/tournament.php?act=view&tournament_id=3825&sport=12&ps_type=1
- 2A girls: https://www.wiaadistrict4.com/wiaa/brackets/tournament.php?act=view&tournament_id=3839&sport=12&ps_type=1
- 1A girls: https://www.wiaadistrict4.com/wiaa/brackets/tournament.php?act=view&tournament_id=3869&sport=12&ps_type=1
- Evergreen running back all about sportsmanship and the family feelEvergreen running back James Bethune has had two 100-yard rushing performances this season, and he excels in the classroom.
- Mountain View’s Joseph Burcham all about football IQ, passion, and hustle As Mountain View prepares to take on rival Evergreen this week, the Thunder know that lineman Joseph Burcham will always be there for them.
- Professional soccer player Yaneisy Rodriguez returns home to donate equipmentColumbia River High School graduate and soccer star Yaneisy Rodriguez, who is now playing professionally in Mexico, returned to Vancouver to donate equipment to the Hudson’s Bay high school soccer program.
- No longer a coach, Rory Rosenbach makes triumphant return to McKenzie StadiumFormer Union football coach Rory Rosenbach is now the athletic director at Glacier Peak, and on Friday the Grizzlies from Snohomish visited Vancouver to take on Evergreen at McKenzie Stadium.
- High School football: Woodland looks ahead after stunning victory last weekThe Woodland Beavers know they won’t be surprising anyone the rest of this season, not after surprising defending league champion Washougal last week, and now the Beavers are looking to continue to improve week to week.