Craig Elks shoot for great turnout at free-throw contest | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig Elks shoot for great turnout at free-throw contest

Craig Daily Press Staff Report

Makaylah Hampton puts up a shot during the local level of the Elks Hoop Shoot Free Throw Contest. The free youth competition, which will be held Saturday at Sandrock Elementary School, is hosted by Craig Elks Lodge No. 1577, and winners have the chance to go as far as the national finals.

— How a basketball player performs when it's just them, the backboard and the rim can make or break big games. And there's no time like the present for young athletes to harness their skills in this specialty.

The Craig Elks Lodge No. 1577 will host the National Hoop Shoot Free Throw Contest on Saturday at Sandrock Elementary School, 201 E. Ninth St.

The free competition has been available in Craig for more than 30 years, and organizer Frank Sadvar has overseen it for more than a decade.

"I think what kids love most about it is just being able to get out there and compete," he said.

Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the competition starts at 9 a.m. for boys and girls, who must be no younger than 8 and no older than 13 as of April 1, 2015.

Proof of age with a birth certificate also is required.

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"Last year, we had a 12-year-old who was over already 6-foot-tall," Sadvar said.

Competitors will shoot a total 30 times — five warm-up shots and 10 regular free throws in the first round, then 15 in the second round. The action then will move to the Elks Lodge for trophies and a chili lunch.

The top-scoring hoopsters will go on to the district round in Rifle, the winner of which will head to state in Salida, then regionals in Denver and finally the national competition in April.

Sadvar said he's hoping for a good turnout. After having as many as 90 participants some years, 19 kids were involved in 2013.

Besides being a good way to stay active, the free-throw contest allows kids to polish a skill that will give them an edge at the line in later years playing the sport and, for those who make it the farthest, a glowing example of accomplishment for college applications.

Additionally, those who win at the national finals of the Hoop Shoot are immortalized in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

"The big players' names will be right next to them there," Sadvar said.

If you go

What: National Hoop Shoot Free Throw Contest

When: 9 a.m. Saturday

Where: Sandrock Elementary School, 201 E. Ninth St.

Details: Elks Lodge No. 1577 will sponsor the local competition. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and competitors also will be invited to a trophy presentation and chili lunch at the Elks Lodge, 43 W. Victory Way. For more information, call 970-824-6131.