Camas gets past Tahoma 57-47 in semifinals; will play for title Saturday night
TACOMA — Another box checked.
“We’re making history,” Camas junior Addison Harris said late Friday night after the Camas Papermakers beat Tahoma 57-47 in the Tacoma Dome to advance to the Class 4A girls basketball state championship game.
“That’s huge,” Harris said. “It’s something that we’ve worked for all year, since my freshman year, since my sophomore year.”
Saturday night, that something arrives: The opportunity for a state championship. Camas, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, will face No. 4 Eastlake at 7 p.m.
Camas is going to the finals for the first time in program history. The Papermakers did it together, with four players scoring in double figures and two others who got to double digits in rebounds, and another who took back-to-back charges on defense.
That’s seven players in the main rotation, and seven huge contributions.
On this night, they were all needed. The Papermakers had no trouble with Tahoma in two earlier matchups this season, winning by 20 and 29 points.
The Bears posed a bigger challenge on Friday, with a finals appearance on the line.
Still, the Papermakers maintained their poise.
Get this: Camas did not make a 2-point field goal in the first half, yet led by 10 points at the break.
Get this: Camas never blew out the Bears, but they also had breathing room throughout the second half. The Papermakers, even when Tahoma made a move, always had an answer. Camas led by six or more points the entire second half.
Tense moments for the Papermakers? Sure. As expected. It’s the Final Four, after all.
But no pressure was too much for them to handle.
Harris picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter and barely played the rest of the half. She would end up scoring eight consecutive Camas points in the third quarter en route to a 12-point performance.
Riley Sanz made three 3-pointers and led the Papermakers with 13 points. Keirra Thompson added 12 points. And Sophie Buzzard was 4-for-7 for the game — all from 3-point range — for her 12 points.
Then there was Reagan Jamison and Kendall Mairs, both coming off the bench and leading the team in rebounds. Jamison grabbed 11 and Kendall Mairs pulled down 10, including a one-handed offensive rebound and putback basket that gave Camas an eight-point lead late in the third quarter.
Defensively, Parker Mairs took two charges in the second half, as well.
Camas led 23-13 at halftime, and Harris said she and her teammates all committed to doing more in the second half.
“Everybody has a part,” Harris said. “They’re all thinking, ‘What can I do better? What can I do to help us get to our end goal?’ That’s when we really needed to step up, and we did.”
Buzzard’s hot hand was a team thing, too, Buzzard said.
“The only reason I could get those shots is because my team passed me the ball so much,” Buzzard said. “It’s really cool. Once our whole team sees the ball go in, no matter who is shooting, who is making it, it just gets us going and gets the momentum going.”
Take that first half, for example.
Buzzard, Thompson, Sanz, and Parker Mairs combined to shoot 7 for 11 from 3-point range. It didn’t matter to the Papermakers that they were 0 for 9 from inside the arc at the time. They were still playing suffocating defense, holding the Bears to 13 first-half points.
“Our rotations, we have worked so hard on them,” Buzzard said of the defensive movement. “We’re all so connected. We know each other. We know where to go. We know where everybody is going to be.”
Everybody is going to be back in the Tacoma Dome on Saturday night in the state championship game.
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