North Bend’s sixth-grade traveling team won a tournament in the Eugene-Springfield area last weekend to qualify for the 2018 state championships in Bend on March 9-11.
The team started the day at Springfield High School with a 55-35 win over Sheldon and a 46-26 win over TRBO.
That advanced North Bend to the championship bracket the following day at North Eugene High School.
North Bend beat Lebanon 49-23 and then beat Thurston 47-41 for the championship.
The group has grown up playing basketball together for several years and reached the finals in three tournaments last year, while often competing against teams from bigger cities. The squad missed a title by one point against West Albany in one of the tournaments.
This season, the team plans to play in events in Corvallis, Salem and Eugene before the state championships in Bend, as well as competing locally.
Coaches Tim Amato and Josh Snoddy have worked with the group since they were in third grade, with practices twice a week from October through March. They played up a grade level, competing against fourth graders when they were in third grade and fifth graders when they were in fourth grade.
Team members include Trenton Snoddy, Sam Mickelson, Kienyn Wicks, Kale Borras, Payton Forrester, Finley Cheal, Jason Padgett, Pao Flores, Ethan Amato and Hunter Reeves. Snoddy, Mickelson, Cheal and Amato all are 4.0 students and Forrester has a 3.87 GPA, Tim Amato said.
“These boys and their parents have really made a serious commitment to North Bend basketball,” Amato said. “We would like to thank our local sponsors that have helped us with the cost of entry fees and gear.
“In no special order, we want to again thank Sandwizard MotorSports, HighRoad Wealth Advisers, Conrad Forest Products, NBMC Physical and Hand Therapy, Prestige Property Management Inc., Epuerto Sports, Coquille Economic Development Corporation and Knutson Towboat.”