February 20, 2002 11:00 pm

What started eight years ago as a 12-team tournament has grown into a two-day event hosting 480 basketball players.

The Grande Ronde Valley Shootout this weekend features 40 teams of fifth- through eighth-grade boys. Teams from La Grande, Imbler, Union and Enterprise will be joined by other local teams and squads from Hermiston, Walla Walla and Boise.

Were having to turn away teams, tournament organizer Rich Carmichael of the sponsoring La Grande Youth Basketball Association said. We cant accommodate them all.

The tournament runs Saturday and Sunday. Saturdays games start at 8:30 a.m. and the last game starts at 8 p.m. Sundays games start at 8 a.m., with championship games starting at noon in the La Grande High School main gym.

Games will also be played in the neighboring gym at the high school and in the middle schools main and annex gyms.

Teams fall into six brackets, with first- and second-place awards for each. The seventh- and eighth-grades have A and B brackets.

A similar girls tournament will be held March 2-3 in La Grande.