Fort Vancouver High School: The (basketball) host with the most

Anotonio Barajas (left) and Ahron Melendez, two seniors from Fort Vancouver, are proud to showcase their basketball program and their school as the Trappers host the Fort Vancouver Holiday Tournament this week. Photo by Paul Valencia
Anotonio Barajas (left) and Ahron Melendez, two seniors from Fort Vancouver, are proud to showcase their basketball program and their school as the Trappers host the Fort Vancouver Holiday Tournament this week. Photo by Paul Valencia

Trappers take pride in hosting basketball tournament, showing off their school

The Fort Vancouver Holiday Tournament is not just for the 16 boys and four girls basketball teams to compete for three days. It is also an opportunity for Fort Vancouver High School to show visitors what they are all about these days.

The Trappers talk about the three jobs they are responsible for this basketball season, this academic year.

They want to do their work, with great attitude, and with relentless effort.

And again, that is not just on the basketball court.

The Trappers played at 10 a.m. Wednesday, the first of eight games to be played at Fort Vancouver during the day. The rest of the day? The Trappers were going to help out wherever needed. Some might be working the concession stand. Others might help with the scorebook or taking stats. 

“There is a lot of pride in hosting this tournament,” senior Ahron Melendez said.

“I really like it because people can get a feel for what Fort Vancouver is and not what they think it is,” added senior Antonio Barajas. 

The goal for the high school, Barajas said, is to “get everyone to the next level of their life.”

While having a positive influence on others along the way.

“A lot of schools we run into, they don’t even give us a chance,” Barajas said of the attitude surrounding his school.

“They got a bad idea on us, a bad rap,” Melendez added. “We’re trying to change how things are nowadays.”

Fort Vancouver High School is hosting 16 boys basketball teams in two brackets this week as part of the Fort Vancouver Holiday Tournament. Photo by Paul Valencia
Fort Vancouver High School is hosting 16 boys basketball teams in two brackets this week as part of the Fort Vancouver Holiday Tournament. Photo by Paul Valencia

On the basketball court, it means competing regardless of the score, always displaying strong sportsmanship, and treating visitors with respect. Do those things, and others will start to change the negative perception of the school, the senior leaders said.

“We’re always preaching: If two people fall on the ground, one of ours and one of theirs, obviously get your teammate first, but also don’t be shy to help them out, too,” Barajas said. “We want to show that we respect everybody.”

The Fort Vancouver Holiday Tournament has teams from Washington, Oregon, and California. The Trapppers said they want to make sure everyone feels welcome.

And, of course, the Trappers are thrilled to have three home games in a row while promoting sportsmanship. This is the first true tournament back at Fort Vancouver since December 2019. There was no basketball season in December of 2020, and then last year, an ice storm stopped some teams from traveling to Vancouver. There were an odd number of teams that did make it, so the host Trappers graciously bowed out in order to allow the other teams to play.

This year? Two, eight-team brackets for the boys. And a round-robin format for four girls teams. (The girls tournament is being played at Heritage High School.) 

“It’s good to have it back,” Melendez said.

“And it’s fun to play in it,” Barajas added.

For updated information on the tournament, and to brackets for scheduling, go to the tourney’s website: https://sites.google.com/vansd.org/fortvancouverinvitational/


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