Columbia Gorge Basketball Academy

Players and coaches representing the Columbia Gorge Basketball Academy seventh grade boys basketball team rattled off a 4-0 record to secure first place at last weekend’s Columbia Gorge Classic played in Hood River. In the photo are, starting in the back row, from left to right, William Booth, Avery Schwartz, River McClure, Trey Hodges, Sterling Coburn, and Andrew Voodre (head coach). In the front row are, from left, Brandon Lentz, Nolan Cates, and Leighton Voodre.

The Columbia Gorge Basketball Academy also had a handful of other teams showcased on the hardwood at the Columbia Gorge Classic and the Pacific League Tournament last weekend to complete the 2019-2020 winter hoops session, with the seventh grade boys taking first place, and three other earning runner-up honors.

“It was a fun way to finish out our season, and this was many of these kids’ final tournament wearing a CGBA uniform,” said program director Greg Cummings. “For me personally, it’s bittersweet. I don’t want these kids’ stories to end. Just the opposite. I hope it’s only the beginning for them.”

The seventh grade team, coached by Michael Cates, played in the Columbia Gorge Classic at Columbia High School and turned in a 4-0 record by taking games versus Hood River, Vancouver and twice defeated South Wasco County to end the season on top.

Columbia Gorge Basketball Academy’s fourth grade boys group, coached by Craig Gunderson, had a solid run going at 3-1 until losing in the title matchup versus the Vancouver Flames fifth graders by three points to end up 3-2 overall for a runner-up finish.

On the eighth grade boys side, the CGBA squad, coached by Greg Cummings played in Seaside last weekend and had another impressive outing, but went 3-1, losing a double overtime heartbreaker, 56-51, against Seaside. 

Cummings has been around this eighth grade core since they were third or fourth graders, so there’s a little more emotion going into everything they have been through over the past few years.

“As I’ve said before, they are all like my own kids,” Cummings said. “Their families are a part of my family and I will forever be grateful for them sticking by me and their teammates. The kids on this team are really special. They are super-talented, they play as a team, they only have one speed and that is all out. They love to be coached and yelled at and pushed and they are coachable.”

The other CGBA eighth grade boys, coached by Kameron Sam played in the Columbia Gorge Classic in Hood River, and although they went winless at 0-4, they stuck together and showed massive improvements on both sides of the ball and improved by leaps and bounds and competed in every game.

On the girls side, coach Lindsay Brock had her sixth-through-eighth grade team put on another top display with a 3-1 record, as they entered the final round with an unblemished standing through their three first games, but wound up losing a closely-contested title contest in Seaside.

There will be plans in place for spring games, summer league tournaments and fall ball before the start of next winter, so the constant repetitions and court time will be a huge benefactor for these athletes as the years go by.

“As I reflect on this season, one word consistently pops in my head is growth,” Cummings said. “I can say without a shadow of a doubt, every single one of our kids are significantly better basketball players today then they were at the beginning of the season. And the best part? They had fun while doing it. I’m so proud of the players, coaches and families that committed their winter to basketball. It’s really incredible. Without supportive parents, no program like this exists and is successful.”

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