Results from Saturday’s Craig Elks Lodge No. 1577 Hoop Shoot contest:
• Ages 8 to 9:
First: Christian Valdez
Second: Phoenix Harris
• Ages 10 to 11
First: Thomas Southard
Second: Brent Cook
Third: Adain Russell, Brad Cook (tie)
• Ages 12 to 13
First: Kody Fief
Second: Dylan Kincade
Third: Ben Robinson
• Ages 8 to 9
First: Taelynn Southard
• Ages 10 to 11
First: Madison Reed
• Ages 12 to 13
First: Josey King
Second: Alexi Goodnow
Third: Hannah Walker
— First-place finishers will represent the local Elks Lodge at the district tournament Jan. 22 at Sandrock Elementary School in Craig.
Alexi Goodnow, Josey King, Hannah Walker and Mattie Jo Duzik have been playing basketball together in one venue or another for several years, including the annual Hoop Shoot contest hosted by Elks Lodge No. 1577.
Even though this was the last year all four of them will compete together, Goodnow said the latest competition provided exactly what it’s supposed to — a fun time.
“It’s always a good experience,” she said.
Saturday’s Hoop Shoot contest at Sandrock Elementary School gave youths ages 8 to 13 the chance to work on their free throw game, while competing for a chance at being immortalized in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Children who win the Hoop Shoot at a national level earn a spot in the sports shrine in Springfield, Mass.
Although it was too soon to tell if any Craig shooters will make it that far, Elks Lodge Secretary Frank Sadvar saw potential in the crowd.
However, he was a little disappointed with the numbers Saturday, with just 19 participants turning out for the competition.
“I wish we could have gotten more of the younger kids,” he said.
Only one girl and two boys were registered for the 8 to 9 age bracket. Taelynn Southard won for the girls, while fellow 9-year-olds Christian Valdez and Phoenix Harris took first and second for the boys, respectively.
Likewise, 10-year-old Madison Reed was the single entrant for girls ages 10 to 11.
Thomas Southard, 11, won in the boys bracket, followed by Brent Cook, 11, in second. Adain Russell, 11, and Brad Cook, 10, tied for third.
Despite the small turnout, Sadvar said the participants were enthusiastic.
“It was a blast,” he said. “These kids did great.”
Sadvar played referee as the competitors headed to the free throw line to put in as many shots out of 25 that they could.
The leader of the day was 13-year-old Kody Fief, who sank 15 free throws, placing first in 12- to 13-year-old boys.
Ben Robinson, 13, who placed third, said this year’s competition was the first time he and Fief had participated in the Hoop Shoot.
They are more experienced in full court basketball, both playing on the seventh-grade Craig Middle School team, which recently placed second in the district tournament.
“It’s little bit different here,” Robinson said.
Goodnow, 13, is more familiar with the format. She placed second in the girls ages 12 to 13 bracket with 12 baskets. This is the last year she is eligible to be in the competition.
“I feel like I accomplished something in my last year,” she said.
Goodnow was in a “friendly competition” with Duzik, King and Walker.
“It’s fun to see who gets better each year,” Walker said. “Even if you don’t win, it’s fun.”
Goodnow won girls ages 12 to 13 last year, but King, 12, took home the top honor this year, with 14 successful shots. King also won the girls ages 10 to 11 bracket last year.
“I won districts last year, and I placed third in state,” King said. “It’s a fun competition. It’s something to do.”
King and other first-place winners will go on to the district event Jan. 22. They won’t have far to go, as the event is in Craig for the first time ever.
“I was in charge of it this year, so I thought I’d bring it here,” Sadvar said. “We could have as many as nine lodges competing with about six kids each. It should be fun.”