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Skyhawks girls basketball player helped Southridge reach Class 6A title game

TIMES FILE PHOTO - Southridge rising senior Cameron Brink won her second straight 6A/5A Johnny Carpenter Award after helping the Skyhawks reach their third straight state title game.

At this point in her already illustrious career, Cameron's Brink family might need another room to store all of their daughter's medals, trophies and well-deserved honors.

And to think, the Southridge girls basketball rising senior superstar, who's become a household name since taking the state by storm three years ago, still has one more season to go.

For the second straight season, Brink was named the 2019 Johnny Carpenter 6A/5A Prep Girls Athlete of the Year and Prep Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Brink remains the only Southridge High athlete to have received a Prep Athlete of the Year honor, which is awarded annually to the four most outstanding male and female high school athletes in Oregon.

By now, Brink's familial association with Golden State Warrior star Stephen Curry and newly minted Dallas Maverick Seth Curry has been well chronicled. Michelle, Cameron's mom, is best friends with Curry's mother, Sonya. Michelle is Steph's godmother and the two families are super close. But while the connection has attracted national headlines since Cameron first set foot on Southridge's campus, Brink's game can stand for itself. The 6-4 center paced Southridge (25-4 overall) to its third consecutive Class 6A Girls Basketball State Championship appearance and Metro League Championship. Brink was named the 6A and Metro League Player of the Year for the second straight season. She was named the Gatorade Oregon Girls Basketball Player of the Year for the second time as well.

Brink entered her junior season as the most experience Skyhawk, having won two 6A state championships in each of her first two years in the red, yellow and white. She was the most accomplished, most decorated player of a young, inexperienced Southridge squad and asked to embrace more of a leadership position, a role she took on a full force and flourished in.

Brink is one of the more vocal players you'll see on the court, especially on the defense. As the anchor to Southridge's stringent, extended 2-3 zone, Brink moored the middle of the floor with ruthless zeal, shouting out to where shooters were, calling out skip passes, shouting encouragement to her teammates. Opponents who dared dip their feet in the paint were greeted by Brink's albatross wingspan, fierce aggression and natural shot-blocking instincts. Brink is one of the nicest teenagers around off the court. But when somebody invades her territory, they're more than likely to be sent back with authority or a quick fall to the hardwood after having their shot swatted out. Defensively, Brink is truly a wrecking ball force who alters just as many shots as she blocks. She's tall and towering, surely, yet it's her fury and ferocity on defense that sets her apart.

Offensively, Brink was the true fulcrum, the apparatus for which Southridge ran its offense through. Hit her on the blocks, in the high post or even out on the perimeter and the athletic post could destroy foes with quick moves and a soft feathery touch. Put a wing on her and Brink would bury them down low, but opposing posts were too slow to keep up with her laterally. Her perimeter game is refined, yet not rudimentary, with a first step that floors into the teeth of the defense and counter moves for oncoming double teams. There are games where Brink is the fastest player on the floor rim-to-rim and she's smooth enough to grab a rebound and lead Southridge's transition game. By the time next season rolls around, there's a good chance Brink is dunking fast-break runouts on a nightly basis. But even better, and maybe more importantly, the three-point shot she's been diligently sharpening over her career is on the verge of becoming a dependable, at-the-ready weapon. If Brink can step out from deep and consistently dial in shots beyond the arc, she will truly be a cheat code, unicorn type of hooper.

TIMES FILE PHOTO - Southridge rising senior Cameron Brink won her second straight 6A/5A Johnny Carpenter Award after helping the Skyhawks reach their third straight state title game.

Brink gave a verbal commitment to play basketball for Stanford in October. She is a consensus five-star recruit and is ranked No. 3 overall in ESPN's class of 2020 girls basketball recruiting rankings. She averaged 21.2 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.1 steals per game in regular and postseason play. Brink shot 64 percent from the field and 78.4 percent from the foul line, helping the Skyhawks win 21 consecutive games before falling to Benson in the state championship.

She scored 23 points and grabbed 16 boards in a 66-42 loss to the Techsters and earned 6A Girls Basketball State Championship first-team honors. Brink also played for USA Basketball's Women's U17 World Championship team last summer, where she earned a gold medal in the FIBA U17 World Cup in Belarus. She competed for Team USA in the U17 International Invitational as well. This past spring, Brink made the USA U19 World Cup team, which will be held July 20-28 in Bangkok, Thailand, where the USA will attempt to capture an eighth gold medal. The U19 is essentially a who's who of the girls' high basketball world with fellow five stars such as Hailey Van Lith and Paige Bueckers suiting up alongside Brink. There are also current collegiate players on the roster like Iowa State University sophomore Ashley Joens, Baylor's Queen Egbo and Michigan's Naz Hillmon-Baker.

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