2020 winter All-Area

Colonial Forge’s Cameren Downs, The Free Lance–Star All-Area girls basketball player of the year, just about did it all for the Eagles this season. This marks the second time she’s received the honor.

Each season has represented a different challenge for Colonial Forge senior Cameren Downs.

When Downs was a freshman starting point guard, she was surrounded by two future Division I players in former center Shakira Austin and older sister, Camille Downs.

So her job was to be a floor general and distributor for the Class 6 state champions.

The following season, significant injuries to two starters forced Downs to step up more as a scorer and she earned Free Lance–Star player of the year honors.

During her junior season, the Eagles had more firepower, so Downs was able to facilitate and score when necessary.

This past season, Downs was an all-around force.

The 5-foot-5 dynamo averaged 14.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 8.5 assists and 4.3 steals per game. She was named Commonwealth District player of the year as she helped lead the Eagles (17–6) to the district regular season and tournament title.

She was a first-team all-Region 6B selection. And she’s also been named Free Lance–Star player of the year for the second time in three seasons.

“Cameren has been at the forefront of making sure Colonial Forge basketball turned out to be what it’s been these last four years,” Eagles head coach Lashaun Cook said. “She’s definitely been pivotal in every aspect of our planning, game play and practice. She’s meant a lot to our program.”

Downs has been an extension of the coaching staff on the floor. Cook and assistant Marquel Davis often made adjustments to game strategies based Downs’ input.

Cook said that type of trust isn’t easy to earn, but Downs possesses the floor savvy and overall ability to command respect.

Cook said when Downs is on the floor, it’s “Coach Cameren for sure.”

“Since I’ve been a point guard my whole life I know what I have to do on the court,” Downs said. “I have a good relationship with my coaches. They trusted me to do my thing and tell me what I’m doing wrong. They’ve made me a better player since my freshman year.”

Downs’ career is far from complete.

She holds a scholarship offer from Division II Chowan University (N.C.). She’s also been in contact recently with Division I Evansville and Division II programs Gannon (Pa.) and Glenville (W.Va.) State.

Camille Downs recently committed to University of North Carolina–Wilmington after starting her career at Coppin State and transferring to Butler (Kan.) Community College.

Downs was set to visit Evansville but had to postpone the trip because of the coronavirus pandemic. Cook said once college coaches figure out who’s leaving and coming back, Downs will know exactly where she stands.

“I’m looking for D–I. That’s the thing I’m aiming for,” Downs said. “But if it doesn’t come, D–II is fine. I wouldn’t trip about it.”

Downs has mentored young teammates Faith Piser and Riley Delcore. Cook said Downs tried to instill wisdom into Delcore, while Piser may be her replacement next season.

“Faith was her main project to try to groom into something similar to Cameren,” Cook said. “But Faith knows she has a lot of work to do to be Cameren. She definitely has the goal to get there.”

Cook said Downs leaves behind a legacy at Colonial Forge. She finished her career as the school’s all-time leader in points (1,346) and assists (653). She recorded 98 double–doubles and 23 triple–doubles. The Eagles went 78–25 in her four seasons.

“I’d say I’m proud of myself,” Downs said. “It’s an accomplishment to be a point guard and start all four years and accomplish some big things. I worked hard. So I’m not going to say I don’t deserve it. But I do think it was a great opportunity to be in that position.”

Taft Coghill Jr: 540/374-5526

tcoghill@freelancestar.com

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