Bellarmine Basketball Has Tough Weekend in Camas

Levi Coovert

Last weekend, the Bellarmine Girls and Boys Basketball teams traveled to Camas to take on the Papermakers in the first round of the District 3&4 tournament. Both Bellarmine teams were seeded as the 5th seed in the district, while both Camas teams were seeded at 4th, which is why Camas was given home-court advantage. 

The girls team arrived on Friday, Feb. 3, with high hopes. They had lost once to Camas back in December but hoped to pull off the upset. The game was close throughout, with Bellarmine playing tight defense the whole game.

For a team whose weakness all season has been allowing teams to score easy points on them, the Lions suddenly turned out their best defensive performance all season against a top-ranked team in the state. Unfortunately for the Lions, the offense, which has been their strength all season, faltered, and the team which has only failed to score 50 points twice this season wound up not even being able to score 40.

Keiara Curtis led the team with 15 points, and Jada Travis also dropped 11, but a combined 6 points from centers Taylor Teeple, Keira Leingang, and Stella Wiggins was the difference maker. Camas clearly had a plan to shut the Lions down in the paint, and it worked. 

Bellarmine Girls take on Camas (Photo courtesy of the News Tribune)

Even still, the girls had the game tied with only a minute left due to a clutch 3-pointer by Keiara Curtis, and were nearly on their way to sealing their spot in the state tournament. But the Papermakers came back to win by four, 43-39, and instead, they are the ones who are locked into state.

Now the Bellarmine team will return home for the losers bracket of the district tournament. Tomorrow night, they will take on Bethel in an elimination game. The Bethel Bisons lost to Bellarmine twice this season already, including two weeks ago in the league playoffs, an 11-point win for the Lions.

If the Lions win, they’ll have another chance to qualify for state on Thursday, Feb. 16. If they lose, they’ll be eliminated and sent to the off-season. Bellarmine is far and away the better team, however, so it’s unlikely that will happen. A win means Bellarmine would play the winner of Decatur and Union.  

The boys basketball team played on Saturday, Feb. 4. They knew they would be facing tough competition against a Camas team who won their league and referees who are traditionally known to be heavily in favor of the home team. The game was close early on, as Junior Dylan Wiggins played an excellent first half.

Bellarmine led 19-16 at the end of the quarter, but a few questionable foul calls allowed Camas to get back on top and grab a 5-point lead going into halftime.

Camas, a shorter team, is known for their ability to shoot three-pointers at an excellent rate, so Bellarmine focused their efforts on guarding the arc and preventing Camas from using the 3 to go up big. That strategy worked early on, but Camas found open lanes to the rim by exploiting the Lions’ defensive strategy. 

The Papermakers jumped out of the gate hot in the second half and grew their lead to double digits. Bellarmine got into foul trouble, something they have struggled with all season, and things began to get out of hand. Despite a few big-time threes by senior Sam Inderbitzen and quality minutes off the bench from senior Sam Nam, Bellarmine couldn’t keep up with the interior attack of the Papermakers.

Bellarmine struggled in the fourth quarter and wound up losing by a final score of 75-57. The win locks Camas into state and sends them to play at #1 seed Curtis in the district semi-finals on Thursday.

The loss means the boys team will also compete in the loser’s bracket. They will host their playoff game on Wednesday, Feb. 15, against Emerald Ridge. ER finished sixth in the SPSL tournament (Bellarmine finished 3rd) and was seeded as the 12th seed in the district, so Bellarmine should be favored to win.

However, the Jaguars defeated the Lions earlier in the season, so the game is not a guaranteed win. A loss would end the Lions’ season, while a win would offer Bellarmine a chance to host a winner-to-state match on Friday night against the winner of Kentridge vs Union.