Some the future boys and girls basketball players in Sedona had their free throw shooting skills put to the test on Saturday, Jan. 14.
The Sedona Elks Lodge held its yearly Elks Hoop Shoot in the gymnasium on the campus of Sedona Red Rock High School.
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Ten boys and girls aged 8 to 13 were split into six different groups: boys and girls aged 8 to 9, boys and girls aged 10 to 11 and boys and girls aged 12 to 13.
“The motto of this event is ‘compete, connect succeed,’ ” Marsha Helton, past exalted ruler of the Elks Lodge, said. “They learn to connect with kids from other programs and they learn the value of success. Obviously competition is part of growing up.”
The competitor who made the highest number of free throws in 25 shots were deemed the winners. The 8-to-9-year-old group shot from a couple of feet closer to the basket than the free throw line.
The winners were: 8-year-old Zion Velasquez, 10-year-old Maverick White, 11-year-old Madelyne Stevenson, 11-year-old Helen Westervelt and 12-year-old Carson Karuzas. There were no competitors in the 8-to-9-year-old girls group.
They will move on to the district shootoff at Heritage Middle School on Jan. 21. According to Helton, the Elks Lodge will provide transportation and lodging for all of the competitors for as far as they advance in the competition.
The state shootoff is in Apache Junction, the regional is in Las Vegas, and the national is in Chicago.
A number of members of the Elks Lodge were present to help with registration, refereeing, scoring and food sales.
“All of the parents are so thankful,” Helton said. “We put a lot of work into this; we spent a couple of weeks making flyers and hot dogs.
Helton also expressed her gratitude to Kirk Westervelt, head coach of the high school’s boys basketball team, for helping spread the word about the event.
Matt Stevenson, father of Madelyne and 12-year-old competitor Colton, said he thought the event was valuable for the youth and for basketball in Sedona.
“I think it’s good for the youth in the community to get in a program like this,” Stevenson said. “It gets them involved in the basketball program in Sedona.”