Camas Heat win big at Oregon Hoopla

Middle-schoolers are division champs at 2021 3-on-3 basketball tournament

After the Camas Heat youth basketball team defeated its opponent to win the boys 11-and-under division championship at the 2021 Oregon Hoopla 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament in Salem, Oregon, on Aug. 8, the vanquished squad’s coach approached Camas coach Jeremy Fogle and said, “We just can’t get over the ‘Camas hump.'”

That “hump” has been insurmountable for all of the Heat’s opponents since they started playing in the tournament four years ago.

Camas middle-schoolers Ben Deochand, Lincoln Fogle, Max Gibson and Jaxson Sullivan won all seven of their games at the tournament, outscoring their opponents by a combined 100 points en route to their fourth tourney title.

“I was excited and super impressed and proud,” said Jeremy Fogle, Lincoln’s father. “They had a long layoff; they hadn’t played organized basketball in 17 months because their seasons were cancelled. I was a little bit shocked. They did really well.”

The boys have dominated Oregon Hoopla, Oregon’s biggest 3-on-3 tournament, in recent years; they also won division championships in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and have yet to lose a single game in Salem.

“They like to win,” Jeremy Fogle said. “They’ve enjoyed the success that they’ve had on and off the court. They like representing Camas — that’s a big thing to them. They like it when they hear comments about Camas and Camas basketball. (They’re) trying to put Camas youth basketball on the map. I told them they made a name for themselves already. People will know them (as they get older).”

Hoopla tournament games are played on a “half-court” and end once a team has reached 35 points or a 25-minute time limit has been reached.

On Aug. 7, the Heat beat Kobe GOAT (Amity, Oregon) 21-12, Lightning Slugs (Salem) 36-3, Tigard (Oregon) Tigers 25-21, NBA Buckets (Clackamas, Oregon) 35-15. The Camas boys then defeated West Linn (Oregon) Elite 28-24, Kobe GOAT 35-19 in the semifinals and the Bucket Boys (Salem) 35-21 in the finals on Aug. 8.

“They were confident (going into the tournament), but a little nervous because West Linn is a team that they’ve lost to in 5-on-5 before,” Jeremy Fogle said.

The boys thrived with a balanced, unselfish approach, taking advantage of their individual strengths and emphasizing team play.

“I was super impressed with the improvement and growth of the two big boys, Ben and Max,” Jeremy Fogle said. “Their footwork (was good), and they played with their hands up and dominated down low. Their passing and decision-making was super good all weekend. They played together as a team. The boys don’t care who scores the most points. They all did equal stuff and they all contributed every game and they cheered for each other. They were really good teammates.”

Lincoln, Max and Jackson, who will be sixth-graders this fall, and Ben, a rising seventh-grader, have been playing basketball together since they were 4 years old as members of the Camas Little Dribblers League. They started playing 3-on-3 two years later at the Vancouver Hoops on the River tournament.

“They got into 3-on-3 because Lincoln’s older brother Tanner and his group had played (when they were younger),” Jeremy Fogle said. “They’ve only lost two 3-on-3 games so far. They’re excited for next summer already. No matter what, even if they’re playing baseball or lacrosse or football, they’ll stop (whatever they’re doing) to play 3-on-3. It’s one of the events they look forward to each summer.”