HS Sports: A weekend of championships for 4A/3A athletes

Union boys survive close championship basketball game, Camas girls roll, and Skyview baseball and Battle Ground softball complete undefeated seasons

The Tacoma Dome or Union High School?

Or was it the dome, or Camas High School?

It wasn’t GESA Stadium in Pasco. It was Propstra Stadium in Vancouver.

And it wasn’t Spokane. It was Camas again.

Izaiah Vongnath of the Union Titans is carried away by teammates and fans after Union cut down the nets Friday. The Titans beat Skyview 61-60 in the Southwest Washington boys basketball tournament final. Photo courtesy iBallMediaUSA.com by Warren J. Edmondson Sr.
Izaiah Vongnath of the Union Titans is carried away by teammates and fans after Union cut down the nets Friday. The Titans beat Skyview 61-60 in the Southwest Washington boys basketball tournament final. Photo courtesy iBallMediaUSA.com by Warren J. Edmondson Sr.

No state championships were on the line Friday and Saturday in Southwest Washington as Class 4A and 3A winter and spring team sports completed their tournaments to conclude their seasons. 

But it meant something to the athletes in boys basketball, girls basketball, baseball, and softball.

“Before the game, we came out acting like this was our state championship because we couldn’t go any farther,” said Union senior Kaden Horn, who helped the Titans to a 61-60 victory over Skyview to claim the boys basketball title on Friday night.

It was the closest of the four tournament title games, as well. Union had a big lead throughout much of the game, Skyview came roaring back to take the lead twice in the final minute. Mehkai Brooks scored 23 of his 30 points in the second half for the Storm. 

In the end, Bryson Metz buried two free throws for the Titans with 11 seconds to play, then Union had to play defense.

Don’t tell Horn or any of the Titans that this game did not mean much.

“Oh my gosh. They got an offensive board. My stomach dropped,” Horn said. 

Skyview’s first attempt to win the game was off the mark. The Storm, indeed, got the offensive rebound and the put-back went in and out. Time ran out on the Storm, and all the Titans ran to each other to celebrate.

“That was the scariest moment I’ve ever been through in basketball,” said Horn, who led the Titans with 25 points.

All four No. 1 seeds won these local-only tournaments. And earlier in the week, Camas boys soccer completed an undefeated season. Boys soccer did not have a tournament. Instead, it was a tier format, and the Papermakers ruled.

This was the first-of-its-kind conclusion to a bizarre sports year. The 4A and 3A programs opted to have winter and spring sports at the same time. And they all finished the same week. 

With the pandemic, there were no state tournaments sponsored by the WIAA this academic year. Local leagues and districts came up with their own plans

Besides the team sports, there were culminating events in all of the individual sports as well in recent days. That includes an impromptu Clark County wrestling event, which was scheduled very late in the process for Saturday.

In the team sports tournament finals, Camas girls basketball rolled to a title, while the Battle Ground softball and Skyview baseball teams completed undefeated seasons. 

“It’s been an awesome season. It’s just been so fun to clear all of the hurdles going into the year, all of the concerns, all of the worries hanging over our heads,” said Camas coach Scott Thompson.

The Papermakers beat Union 77-38, making a school-record 17 3-pointers in the game. It was the second highest point total in Camas history.

The Papermakers had a simple philosophy this season, going 16-1.

“Nothing is guaranteed, so empty our tank every single day we’re out here,” Thompson said. “Now that we’re through it all, from a basketball perspective, it couldn’t have gone better. From just having a fun team with a great group of girls, we gave them a ton of memories. We got through this thing as well as we possibly could have done it.”

Battle Ground softball, for years a quality program, just might have had one of its best teams. The Tigers went 16-0, taking down Prairie and Mountain View in the semifinals and then finals on Saturday at Camas High School.

“It’s special to complete an undefeated season,” Battle Ground coach Jeremy Barr said. “Still leaves a little bit of a void that there wasn’t something beyond this. That’s really unfortunate, and I feel really bad for the kids that they didn’t get a chance to compete outside of the county.

“Still, we’re thankful to have the opportunity to play at all this year. To see how they finished the season the way they did, it’s pretty special.”

Battle Ground hit four home runs in the semifinals, and the Tigers got an 8-0 shutout in the championship game. Rylee Rehbein struck out 10 in the finals. 

Candice Adams, a freshman, finished the season with the team’s triple crown, leading the Tigers with a .510 batting average, with six home runs, and 31 RBIs in 14 games played.

At Propstra Stadium, the Skyview Storm survived a close semifinal then took care of business in the finals to complete an undefeated baseball campaign.

Seth Minor and Tyler Howard had back-to-back run-scoring singles in the third inning to give the Storm a 2-1 lead over Mountain View in the semifinals. That would be the final as pitchers Caden Vire (4 IP, six strikeouts) got the win, and Cade Reitzenstein got the three-inning save, punching out six batters.

A salute to the Prairie Falcons here for making it to the finals. They were the No. 7 seed heading into the tournament. But in the end, it was the Storm’s day, completing the Storm’s season.

Jack Santic drove in two runs for the Storm. Howard had three hits. And Brandon Bowyer threw six innings in the 8-3 victory. The Storm finished 17-0.

In Class 1A, King’s Way Christian boys basketball beat Elma 64-33 to claim the district championship. Montesano upended King’s Way Christian in the girls title game.

High school sports are not done for the school year yet. Class 2A sports have another week, highlighted by the boys and girls basketball tournaments. The Hudson’s Bay girls and Mark Morris boys are the top seeds from the 2A Greater St. Helens League.

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Kevin Mattson
Kevin Mattson
16 days ago

Thanks for the writeup, these kids deserve all the press they can get. You missed an opportunity not covering the Track and Field District meet though!

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