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Forest Grove stages girls hoops clinic

Girls basketball camp draws its best-ever turnout last week

This camp just keeps getting bigger, too.

On the heels of a record turnout at the Viking Hoop Camp for boys, last week local girls took their turn, coming out in droves for a basketball camp at Forest Grove High School.

Vikings head coach Dan Lumpkin saw nearly 80 girls in grades one through nine attend his sixth annual basketball camp, a new high by some 20 participants. Most of the players came from Forest Grove, but others reside in Banks, Gaston and even Hillsboro.

“Everything went really well and the camp went great,” Lumpkin said. “The kids had a great time. That was the important part.”

Last Monday through Thursday, the girls spent their morning hours working on skills such as ball-handling, shooting, defense, passing and other fundamentals work.

But they had plenty of fun while they were at it, honing those skills through activities such as scrimmages, 1-on-1 and shooting competitions, and games such as knockout.

The campers also got to pal around with players who have come through the program in recent years. Hope Fletcher (Class of 2012), Abby Vanderzanden (2013) and recent Forest Grove graduates Kaitlin Jamieson, Shelby Turner and Emilia Anderson all served as coaches along with Lumpkin at the camp, offering their expertise to the up-and-coming generation of Vikings.

“The little girls, they love the high school girls, they love the older girls, and the older girls love it, too,” Lumpkin noted. “A lot of camaraderie there, and it’s nice to see.”

What was nice for Lumpkin — and for all of the campers, really — was being able to hold the camp at the high school’s new Basinski Center for the first time. The event was staged at the east and west locations of Tom McCall Upper Elementary School the past two years, presenting the logistical challenge of staging at two sites.

In addition to having all of the girls in one place, another advantage of the new facility is its upper gym, which features adjustable baskets suitable for the younger players. That meant that camp staffers did not have to deal with setting up awkward and cumbersome portable hoops. And with three gyms available, the Basinski facilities provided plenty of room.

“All of those were obstacles we had to deal with, but now with having three large gym spaces at one site and a gym that has adjustable hoops, there’s just so much you can do now,” Lumpkin said.

With more spacious accommodations, Lumpkin could see the camp growing to 100 players in the future, he said, noting that higher numbers actually make planning activities and orchestrating the camp easier rather than more difficult.

As basketball seems to be enjoying a surge in popularity among area youth, that triple-digit attendance number may not be far off.

After all, it’s something Lumpkin is working for.

“I think with both boys and girls basketball, I think there’s a bigger interest, but I also think (boys coach) Greg (Evers) and I both do a lot of work with our youth,” Lumpkin said. “Word is spreading and kids are getting more involved.”

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