Ore. middle-school basketballers play in C.O.

Organizers estimate nearly 5,000 people visited

C.O. hosts middle school basketball tournament

BEND, Ore. - You don't hear much in Oregon about middle school basketball tournaments, but a Central Oregon organization is changing that and held one this weekend that drew hundreds of participants and thousands of family members.

The Oregon Middle School Basketball Championships tipped off on Saturday and continued Sunday, with games spread out to eight different gyms at middle schools and high schools in Bend and Redmond.

The tournament featured 1,093 middle school players from 106 teams, and a majority of those teams were from outside our area.

"I think you are seeing it right here -- you have a team of sixth grade girls and very competitive basketball," said Bill Reinking, tournament director. "A team from the Salem area against a team from the Portland area -- they don't typically play each other."

Reinking said he started the association after he noticed there was no governing body for middle school basketball, like there is for baseball and football.

While the tournament provided entertainment for basketball fans, Reinking said he hopes it provided some boost to the local economy as well.

He estimated between 4,000 and 5,000 people came to Central Oregon for the tournament.

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