Girls basketball: Trappers experience victory

Fort Vancouver had gone two years without a win

VANCOUVER — There were smiles, high-fives, and hugs.

A lot of emotion, in fact.

“I kind of wanted to cry,” Fort Vancouver senior Carla Azamar said.

Tears of joy. Tears of relief.

The Fort Vancouver Trappers were winners for a night in the girls bracket of the inaugural Fort Vancouver Invitational basketball tournament Friday.

The Trappers beat Evergreen of Seattle 37-22, giving Fort Vancouver its first win since Dec. 5, 2016.

Yes, more than two years between victories, so this night was special for the Trappers.

Carla Azamar and the Fort Vancouver girls basketball team experienced a win for the first time since 2016. Photo by Paul Valencia
Carla Azamar and the Fort Vancouver girls basketball team experienced a win for the first time since 2016. Photo by Paul Valencia

“It’s hard to say what you’re feeling when you are so used to losing,” Azamar said. “I just felt really close to everyone. It felt good to win.”

Fort Vancouver coach Arlisa Hinton said she has seen the team improve in practice and in every game this season. Now she got to see the team walk off the court with a victory.

“I don’t even know if I can explain how it feels to win. I have been hanging my hat on watching progress,” Hinton said. “The winning part of it is more for them.”

The struggle at Fort Vancouver is real. The record speaks for itself. Still, Hinton said there was something different about this squad.

“I finally have a group that actually wants it,” she said. “They don’t always know how to do it, but they want it.”

That makes these Trappers easy to work with because these Trappers want to work.

“I was getting to the point that I was expecting it at some point,” Hinton said of the win. “I want more.”

In fact, the Trappers believed, too.

Fort had a decent lead going into the fourth quarter but after two years of not winning, anything could happen, right?

No, not this night. Long before the final quarter, Azamar was confident.

“I already knew we were going to win. We came out on fire, and we stayed on fire,” she said.

Mary Brown led the Trappers with 10 points and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player by tournament organizer Ben Jatos.

Speaking of the tournament, it was Jatos who came up with the idea to invite four girls teams with similar records. A year ago, Fort Vancouver, Aberdeen, Evergreen of Seattle, and Parkrose combined for one win. By putting those four teams in a two-day bracket, three teams were guaranteed at least one win this week.

And, in theory, all four games could be competitive.

In fact, in Saturday’s championship game, Parkrose beat Fort Vancouver with a 3-pointer with nine seconds left in the game.

The Trappers just missed out on a two-game winning streak, but they were in it all the way.

“It’s finally paying off,” Hinton said of all the work.

Notes: Parkrose pulled off the double. The girls won the four-team bracket, and the Parkrose boys won the eight-team, three-day bracket. Parkrose beat Kentlake in the title game Saturday night 53-47. … Host Fort Vancouver went 0-3 in the boys tournament. Mountain View went 2-1.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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