There was a common theme among the most successful teams in the 15U division at the West Coast Clash this weekend in Centralia. That theme was defense. Both Roots Academy-2025 and Deny Basketball-2025 went undefeated and with both teams it wasn’t hard to see that they bought into 40 minutes of pressure defense. Getting after it on defense for an entire weekend. It was nice to watch, and not something that is easy to get kids to do for 40 minutes straight game in and game out. There was no champion crowned since the two teams didn’t get to face each other. In leu of that, why not recognize effort. Here’s my all defense, hustle team.
Caden Hoppes-Deny Basketball-2025
After watching three of his games, it was no secret that he bought in. He was all pressure, all the time, and if they kept stats for steals in the tournament, I don’t see anyone being ahead of this kid. Built for defense, sturdy, quick, and aggressive, he was a problem. You might wonder where these kids go to school that played for Deny Basketball-2025. As do I, either he goes to Hoppes High School, or his name is Caden Hoppes. The roster says Hoppes High School but after going through the names, it’s safe to say that the players last names were in the wrong column. No schools listed. Portland area.
I failed this kid on day one. I didn’t see that he was maybe the hardest working player on the defensive end for the Roots team. He isn’t big, but he is quick and smart. In fact, I was so impressed with his defense Sunday that I gave him player of the game for that sole reason. He got up into his man and he got his hands on balls creating steals for his team on several occasions. He did get beat by his man one time, but I think it was purposely done since he reached around and tapped the ball away from the kid as he went by. Smaller kid, big heart.
Another one that was relentless and made for defense. Extremely quick and strong. He was a bully on defense, forcing a ton of turnovers himself which resulted in layups at the other end.
Carson Bognor-2025-Mark Morris
Strong and quick in his own right, he liked to get up and pressure, and was really good at following the ball and getting his hands on it. Great instincts that showed by the number of times he had his hands in the passing lanes. Just getting hands on ball on the defensive end is a great skill that translates into easy buckets on the other end. He did that for his team. Another sturdy kid who used his strength and his intelligence to play pressure, team defense without getting himself out of position.
Kai Brooks-2025-Auburn Academy
I am including this kid whose team wasn’t undefeated but deserves mention for how hard he played. He probably led the tournament in floor burns, since he was the first to hit the deck for loose balls and played with a lot of heart for a smaller kid also. All hustle team candidate the first time I watched him. Another player of the game. Because of that.
Dalton Stevens-2025-Mark Morris
Maybe they play defense at Mark Morris? The second kid from Longview to make the list. He was high energy, and athletic. He used it to his advantage. He was also a problem.