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Wilsonville's Bishop and Burns play in front of college coaches in Chicago Tournament of Champions

COURTESY PHOTO - Oregon Elite's Navy team went 5-0 to win its pool at the EOT Summer Swoosh in Orange County, California on July 23-26.

Starters on Oregon Elite's top club team, Emilia Bishop and Sydney Burns spent their summer playing basketball in front of college coaches from all over the country.

Bishop and Burns, who are both entering their junior year at Wilsonville High School and were 5A Second Team All-State selections last season, said their largest exposure came at the Nike Tournament of Champions in Chicago on July 10-12.

"Everywhere you turned there was someone in a college T-shirt," Bishop said. "Chicago is where I really realized what it meant to be on the Navy team of Oregon Elite because looking at all of our other teams in the program and seeing how many (college) coaches they had (watching) versus how many we had, it really made me realize what an honor it is to be recognized as one of the top players."

Oregon Elite has 48 girls on five teams, but the best 10 play on the Navy squad.

With University of Oregon head coach Kelly Graves and Oregon State's Scott Rueck in attendance, Oregon Elite's Navy team went 3-2 in Chicago.

Over 1,000 teams played on 75 courts and Connecticut's Geno Auriemma was reported to also be in the stands at the McCormick Center in downtown Chicago.

"It was really, really cool to see all the girls that were playing," Burns said. "We get used to the same clubs and the same names in the Oregon, Washington and California tournaments, but when you go farther away like Chicago, you learn about different programs, which is fun."

Along with traveling to Chicago, Oregon Elite also played in two End of the Trail tournaments in Oregon City before finishing the summer in California.

Competing in the EOT Ultimate Challenge in Sacramento on July 20-22 and the EOT Summer Swoosh Championships in Orange County on July 23-26, Bishop and Burns were a perfect 10-0.

Oregon Elite dominated the competition in Sacramento, outscoring its five opponents 388-241. Their closest game was a 75-60 victory on July 21.

"We were in really good shape, so we were really able to just run out teams," Bishop said.

Oregon Elite faced tougher competition in Orange County and was able to avenge losses to Spokane Legacy and Columbia Cascade from earlier in the summer.

"Everybody just really played up to their potential and it felt like the team just really came together," Bishop said. "The (Oregon Elite) coaches are really good about reminding us that we're here on a business trip, not just for fun. We get to experience the city or the beach wherever we are but we also are eating well and staying hydrated and keeping our bodies in the best shape we can to continue the tournament and stay healthy."

Oregon Elite's closest game in Orange County was a 67-64 victory over Cal Stars 17 Elite on July 23.

"Most of our games (in Orange County) were really close and those games are just fun to play in for me because they bring the best out of you as a competitor," Burns said.

COURTESY PHOTO - Wilsonville girls basketball players Sydney Burns, from left, Kameron Gibson, Emilia Bishop, Keira McNamee and Renee Lee, pictured with coaches Jay Ego, left, and Justin Duke, spent their summer playing with Oregon Elite.

Wilsonville teammates Renee Lee, Keira McNamee and Kameron Gibson also spent their summer traveling and playing for Oregon Elite on the White, Red and 15U teams.

Oregon Elite's club season started in April with a tournament in Spokane.

"I really enjoyed my time with the team," Burns said. "We had some really fun moments."

Justin Duke, head coach of Wilsonville's girls basketball team, coached Oregon Elite's Gold squad.

"It's been a great experience for them in front of college coaches," Duke said. "That's really what it's all about, playing and improving, but also there's definitely an exposure piece to playing in front of all of those college coaches."

Derek Wiley
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