As the minutes ticked down in Timberline’s back-and-fourth West Central/Southwest bi-district girls basketball game against Auburn Mountainview, the most dominant player on the floor for the Blazers was all but invisible to the casual observer.
But Timberline coach Zandrea Edenstrom knew exactly what senior point guard Camille Williams was capable of. After all, she has proven it all season.
“Camille doesn’t have bad games,” Edenstrom said. “If she doesn’t score, she’s doing something else that’s noticeable.”
Although Williams didn’t make a field goal in the second half of last Friday’s game against the Lions, she more than handled the little things that eventually helped the Blazers to a thrilling 52-50 win to earn a berth in the regional round of the state tournament.
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She came up with key steals and rebounds, while dishing out five of her seven assists in the second half. No assist was bigger than on the drive and dish to an open Kiley Hanratty, who sank a 10-foot jumper just before time expired that gave Timberline the victory. With 10.8 seconds on the clock and the score tied at 50, Williams went the length of the court, drove the baseline, then found her open teammate for the game-winner. Williams finished with 14 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals.
Today, for the first time in program history, Timberline will play in the regional round of the state tournament. The third-ranked Blazers (22-1) take on Shorecrest (15-8) at 4 p.m. at Bellevue College. Just five years ago, Timberline was 0-20.
“It feels nice to be able to prove we’re a good team,” Williams said. “We’ve been the same team for the last four years.”
Whether it’s spearheading the fastbreak, getting her 5-foot-4 frame inside to battle for rebounds, or controlling the tempo on the floor, Williams is a difference-maker.
Her 100 percent all-out effort on offense and defense makes her a difficult player to stop. Her toughness, determination, and energy were noticed by the 3A Narrows League coaches, who voted her the league’s Most Valuable Player. While Williams is third on the Blazers in scoring (12.1 ppg), she led the team in assists (4.9) and is averaging close to three steals per game. She also led the team with 252 field-goal attempts.
Her game has improved vastly the past two years, Edenstrom said – her basketball IQ and floor vision, in particular.
“She knows the moves she’s going to make three moves ahead,” Edenstrom said. “The strategic part of basketball has really grown for her. At this point, it becomes second nature for her.”
Timberline has a strong mix of outside shooters and post players. Junior guard Sasha Weber leads the team in scoring (14.4), and junior post Cymone Martin is right behind her (12.8). Martin also is averaging 9.4 rebounds and has posted 12 double-doubles this season.
“Our big shooters and posts, they do the big things,” Williams said. “I like to do the little things to help connect all those together.”
Williams doesn’t play basketball on an AAU traveling team. Instead, she’s been focused solely on high school basketball, a natural gym rat who works on her game at every opportunity. In addition to being the Narrows MVP this season, she earned first- and second-team all-Western Cascade honors, respectively, as a junior and sophomore. She’s also been part of the turnaround that’s led the team to a 22-1 record going into tonight’s game. The previous two seasons, Timberline won a combined 22 games and was bounced out in the first round of the district tournament each time.
During this past summer, the Blazers reached new heights. They went unbeaten against teams they had lost to in previous years, and made a great impression at the University of Washington team camp. It was a sign of things to come, as Timberline won its first 21 games of the season.
“We started to come together as a team,” Williams said. “It opened our eyes to what we were capable of.”
In a season of firsts, the Blazers won their first league title, earned their highest finish at a district tournament, and the 22 wins is the most in school history. Timberline needs a victory today against Shorecrest to remain alive to face the loser of today’s Holy Names/Kennedy game at 1 p.m. Saturday to advance to the elite eight of the 3A state tournament. And to do that will take something they’ve done all season.
“We need to play as a team,” Williams said. “When we come together, there’s no doubt. We’ll be as good as we can be.”