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There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned free-throw shooting contest for Sedona basketball fans to cheer about during the winter months.

Eleven-year-old Sedona resident Liza Westervelt and her 9-year-old sister Mary Westervelt competed in three different free-throw contests in the past month, doing quite well in representing their home town.

Liza Westervelt, 11, left, and 9-year-old sister Mary Westervelt traveled to Las Vegas to compete in the Elks Hoops Shoot Western Regional on Friday, Feb. 18, and Saturday, Feb. 19. Liza took third overall, making 18 of 25 shots, while Mary took fourth overall, hitting 14 of 25 shots. The two competed in their respective age divisions.The Westervelt sisters said Monday, Feb. 21, that their trip to Las Vegas this past weekend was the highlight of their journey.

“Yes, it was so much fun. My favorite part of the trip however was the junk food bus and all the food we got to eat,” Liza said with a big smile.

The sisters traveled to Las Vegas on Friday, Feb. 18, to participate in the Elks Hoops Shoot Western Regional. The Westervelts earned the trip after competing in local and state contests over the last three weeks.

Liza hit 18 of 25 shots to finish third overall in the western regional, while the winner [from California] hit 20.

As for Mary, she finished fourth overall, making 14 free throws out of 25.

“Yeah, I was really off,” Mary said with a smile. “But I still had a lot of fun. We went on a roller coaster and got to eat a lot of candy.”

The girls’ father, Kirk Westervelt, is a local orthodontist, but admitted some candy is OK now and again.
“I guess one day of candy is OK. Their mother has a sweet tooth as well,” he joked. “I think these two girls did great. It was a great experience for them.”

After winning the Northern Arizona District Hoop Shoot contest Jan. 29, the Westervelt sisters traveled to Apache Junction to compete in the Arizona Hoop Shoot Championships on Feb. 5.

There were 24 winners representing four districts. These 24 individuals advanced through their local district contests that involved nearly 15,000 youngsters.

The Hoops Shoot is one of the largest and most visible youth activities sponsored by the Arizona Elks Lodges, according to a press release.

Liza won the ages 10 to 11 division for an Arizona state title in Apache Junction, hitting 16 of 25 shots.

Liza tied with last year’s western region champion and beat her in a double overtime format, hitting a total of eight of 10 shots.

Both sisters play intramural basketball at Big Park Community School during the week, and look forward to playing with the school as they get older.

When asked about their favorite teams, both girls didn’t hesitate to say the Boston Celtics.

“Basketball is my favorite sport and my favorite player is Rajon Rondo. I also like Steve Nash,” Liza said.
Mary wasn’t too far behind in making sure to name her favorite player too.

“I like Kevin Garnett.”

The Westervelt girls were able to catch a University of Las Vegas Nevada baseball game as well during their stay, but both stick to the free-throw shoot being the best part besides the “junk food” bus.

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