Papermakers prevail in OT without league player of the year; plus other updates
CAMAS — The Class 4A Greater St. Helens League Player of the Year recorded an assist on Camas’ first possession Thursday night in the opening round of the bi-district girls basketball tournament.
Fitting, because Courtney Clemmer is always trying to help a teammate, encourage a teammate, lift up a teammate.
On this night, though, her teammates had to have Clemmer’s back because Clemmer’s back took Clemmer out of the game.
The Camas Papermakers struggled without Clemmer, who injured her back in the first 30 seconds, but the Papermakers prevailed, taking down Hazen 45-41 in overtime.
Marianna Payne blocked a Hazen layup to keep the game tied late in overtime, then she scored the go-ahead basket to move Camas into the quarterfinals of this tournament.
Clemmer, who received treatment on her back the rest of the game, said she did not push to return to the court. She said she plans on going to the doctor Friday to try to figure out the severity of the injury, and she hopes to play again for the Papermakers in Saturday’s quarterfinals or at least next week.
“We did not know what was wrong,” Clemmer said, adding there was no sense in risking a more serious injury. “I knew this was not going to be my game. But I believed in my team.”
Camas never trailed after taking a 9-7 lead in the first quarter, but Hazen tied the game three times in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter.
Defenses prevailed for much of overtime, too. Hazen had what looked to be an easy shot, but Payne hustled back in time, timed her jump perfectly, and got the blocked shot. On the ensuing Camas possession, it was Payne with the basket for a 42-40 advantage with 42 seconds left.
“It felt good to contribute to my team and to make sure we sealed the win,” Payne said.
Hazen would get a free throw on its next trip down the floor, and Camas missed a free throw, giving Hazen a chance to take the lead.
Instead, Jillian Webb tipped a Hazen pass to force a turnover. Jordyn Wilds got to the loose ball, was fouled, and made two free throws for a three-point lead. After another Hazen miss, Webb made a free throw to clinch the win.
Camas will take on Rogers of Puyallup at 3:45 p.m. Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School in the quarterfinals. The winner of that game will qualify for the state regional round. The loser will fall into the consolation bracket, still alive.
Clemmer and her teammates hope she is back soon.
It was difficult and “kind of weird” playing without her, junior Haley Hanson said.
“But we came together and fought hard. We kept our composure,” Hanson said. “We still did pretty good for not having Courtney.”
The injury is a setback in what otherwise has been a magical season for Clemmer. A four-year starter, she was voted the league’s Player of the Year by the coaches for her talent on the court.
It is her character, though, that makes her truly special. Her volleyball teammates. Her basketball teammates. Her coaches. They all agree.
“She is unbelievably nice,” Hanson said.
Even to opponents.
“If she knocks you down, she comes to you with a big, ol’ smile, helps you up, and gives you a high-five,” Hanson said. “That’s just Courtney. She is the most positive person I know. There are not enough words to describe her.”
Clemmer has a simple philosophy in terms of opponents.
“It’s just a game, at the end of the day,” Clemmer said. “So you help someone up, hope no one gets hurt, and keep going.”
Clemmer cemented her legacy at Camas with her performance on Senior Night. Oh, it had nothing to do with the game. It was all about pre-game. She asked her coach if another senior could start in her place.
“I’ve been blessed with starting since freshman year. That wasn’t going to make my Senior Night important. I wanted to see all the other seniors happy.”
Brooklyn Pascua, who moved to Camas for her senior season, got the start instead. Clemmer said it has to be difficult to change high schools with just one year remaining.
“I wanted her to have her Senior Night.”
For Clemmer, basketball is all about what the players and coaches can do for each other. Even an individual honor is treated like a team achievement.
“Once I had it, I knew it wasn’t for me. It was for my whole team,” Clemmer said of the 4A GSHL Player of the Year award.
It was her teammates who got her the ball in the right position to score. It was her teammates boxing out to help Clemmer grab a rebound. It was the team’s play, the team’s undefeated league season, that led to Clemmer’s award.
“Playing for Camas has taught me a lot of things, especially this year,” Clemmer said. “It’s not about the scoreboard, the points, the rebounds, the GSHL title. It’s about the relationships you make with teammates. It’s the memories you make off the court, and the few plays you make on the court.”
More game notes
With the early game injury, the rotations changed and several reserves played quality minutes.
Three freshmen made big contributions, too. Faith Bergstrom made all three of her shots for six points. Jelena Carlisle’s sweet move and basket late in the second quarter gave Camas an eight-point lead. And Katelynn Forner teamed up with Hanson, a junior, for back-to-back plays that led to four points. Hanson got a steal, Forner got the ball, and passed it right back on a give-and-go to Hanson for a layup. Seconds later, it was Forner who deflected a Hazen pass, and Hanson who got to the loose ball first and scored on another layup.
Payne led Camas with 12 points. Hanson and Pascua finished with eight. Maggie Wells grabbed eight rebounds.
Mason Oberg made four 3-pointers and scored 18 points, leading Union to a come-from-behind victory at Auburn Mountainview. Union will take on Bellarmine at 1:45 p.m. Saturday at Mount Tahoma HS in the bi-district quarterfinals. The winner of that game qualifies for the regional round at state.
Skyview is heading to the consolation bracket after losing to Bellarmine on Thursday. Skyview won Tuesday in a play-in game. The Storm will take on Auburn Mountainview in a loser-out game Saturday at Wilson HS.
The bad news for Clark County: Evergreen and Hudson’s Bay both lost in the opening round of the bi-district tournament Thursday. The good news for Clark County: One is guaranteed to win the next game. Evergreen and Hudson’s Bay will play each other at 6 p.m. Saturday at Heritage High School in the consolation bracket.
If you recall, the Prairie boys opened the bi-district with a win on Wednesday.
Hockinson lost in the play-in game for the Class 2A District 4 tournament. The first round of that tournament begins Saturday.
King’s Way Christian took down Hoquiam 61-52 on Thursday to advance to the semifinals of the Class 1A District 4 tournament. Seton Catholic plays Forks and La Center hosts Elma in first-round games Friday night.
A fantastic season for King’s Way Christian came to a sudden end Thursday with a 38-31 loss to Hoquiam in the opening round of the 1A District 4 tournament.
La Center had a first-round bye and will play Saturday.
Union in the quarterfinals and Skyview in consolation are back in action Friday night.
Prairie in the quarterfinals, and Hudson’s Bay and Evergreen play each other in the consolation. Those games are Friday.
Hockinson, Columbia River, Washougal, and Woodland all play Friday in the opening round of the Class 2A District 4 tournament.