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Townsend breathing life into hoops

While the winter basketball season is a little more than three and a half months away, there is no better time than now for young athletes to dive into the sport head-on for an in-depth training camp to aid the progression and fundamentals to gain an edge on the competition.

The Columbia Gorge Basketball Academy will be holding a training camp for boys entering the eighth-through-12th grades from Aug. 10-14.

“I am very excited about the Columbia Gorge Basketball Academy,” said program coordinator and The Dalles High School varsity coach Bob Townsend. “The added time I can gain with future high school basketball players will allow me to instill the fundamental base that is imperative to a successful high school program.”

The camp will run each day from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in The Dalles and costs are set at $40. Camp registration will also cover the fees to participate on the fall basketball travel team if the player is selected.

Townsend has hopes to have participants from all local schools, spanning from Hood River to Arlington, Maupin to Goldendale, and every school in between.

His thought is that basketball has become a year-round activity in most successful high school programs. “While my primary goal was to improve the skills of incoming freshmen to our program, I think there is significant competitive benefit to providing this opportunity to all area youth,” Townsend said.

The purpose of the camp is to provide an opportunity for local players to compete against better competition while learning some advanced skills.

“We will have numerous coaches in from local communities to teach various fundamentals in the hopes to offer a wide background of skills,” Townsend said. “We will also be teaching basic team offense and defense to allow the players to compete in 5 on 5 game situations.”

The latter days of camp will use real game situations with referees to enhance the learning experience.

Actual games will be played on the last day of camp to allow the players the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.

Townsend said that the Academy is also used as an opportunity to provide training to youth coaches and to facilitate a melting pot for high school coaches to share drills and teaching techniques.

“We also hope to provide the athlete information that will allow them to optimize their athletic experience,” the coach said. “We will provide information on speed and strength training, individual basketball workouts for the offseason, dietary needs for the athlete, and guidance on a mental approach that will allow players to succeed at their highest potential.”

In early March of this season, Townsend had a prolific group of middle school athletes on the hardwood for travel play, and those games against tough competition from across the state gave him a good glimpse into the future of hoops in the area.

Just having the opportunity to work with incoming eighth graders, Colton Baughn, Connor Baugh, Jack Bonham, Josh Nisbet, Tyler Vassar, Caden Cummings and Ricky Esiquio served as a launching pad on the hardwood, as this group racked up wins at an impressive rate.

Townsend added that although the tournaments were more exciting for the participants, the practice time served as the most beneficial chance for the kids to improve their skills.

Now, the vision is to add more names and potential to the list, so that he and the rest of the coaches have a hand in the further development of high-profile basketball stars down the road.

“I am excited about this camp, and hope that players take advantage of the opportunity to challenge themselves against some of the area’s best basketball players,” Townsend added. “We continue to see increased enthusiasm about boys’ basketball in the gorge and believe this is another chance for the dedicated basketball player to gain some additional gym time.”

For registration information, contact Bob Townsend at 541-980-8952.

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