Craig kids conquer the court in Elks Hoop Shoot | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig kids conquer the court in Elks Hoop Shoot

Participants begin the morning Saturday with warm-up shots during the Craig round of the Elks National Hoop Shoot Free Throw Contest. This year saw 42 boys and girls ages 8 to 13 compete, a seven-year best for Lodge No. 1577.

The gym was bustling Saturday at Sandrock Elementary School as future basketball stars were laying the foundation for years to come in the sport.

Craig had its most sizable turnout in seven years during the weekend's Elks Hoop Shoot Free Throw ContestElks Hoop Shoot Free Throw Contest for boys and girls ages 8 to 13. for boys and girls ages 8 to 13.

Elks Hoop Shoot Free Throw Contest for boys and girls ages 8 to 13.

The morning included 42 kids total, well past years where attendance was in the 20s, which Frank Sadvar, Exalted Ruler for Lodge No. 1577 called "astronomical."

Elks National Hoop Shoot Free Throw Contest Craig results

Boys

8 and 9

First — Jayden Evenson

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Second — Jordan Fager

Third — Michael Sigmon

10 and 11

First — Tanner Dugan

Second — Evan Beaver

Third — Hudson Jones

12 and 13

First — Cort Murphy

Second — Jose Del Toro

Third — Easton Briggs

Girls

8 and 9

First — Lillian Burke

Second — Daisy Rojas

Third — Adrian Profumo

10 and 11

First — Antonia Vasquez

Second — Mikah Vasquez

Third — Abby Herrera

12 and 13

First — Jacie Evenson

Second — Olivia Profumo

Third — Sophie Hough

"The sportsmanship the kids showed was great," he added.

Following a warm-up period for everyone, each shooter goes to the foul line for five practice shots and 25 that count for the real deal.

Tanner Dugan was the top shooter for boys in the 10- and 11-year-old age group, hitting 13 free throws.

"I think I did pretty good, but I think I could have done better. I had to wait for a long time for it to happen," he said.

Dugan's age group had the largest turnout and was delayed shooting until the next-largest group, boys 8 to 9, were finished.

Winning at the oldest age level, 12 and 13, were Cort Murphy for boys and Jacie Evenson for girls.

Both also claimed first place last year and were able to attend the following district round, where Murphy was the runner-up.

"I only lost by one point," he said of the previous year. "I'm just looking forward to trying to win."

Jacie not only won districts but also the state round in last year's event, going as far as the regional event in Denver for the mountain states. This year, however, she wasn't the only only one in her household to win, competing alongside her younger brother, Jayden, who won the 8 to 9 boys.

"Twinsies," Jayden laughed, as he held his matching trophy next to his sister's.

The district round of the Hoop Shoot takes place Jan. 21 in Leadville, organized by Mark Gorman, who aided in Saturday's Craig event.

Gorman said he was impressed with Craig's larger turnout this year, as well as players he's recognized year after year.

"Each year they get a little bit better," he said.

He and Sadvar said they hope to see the Western Slope well-represented as the contest continues.

"Once they get in the upper levels, those kids get treated like royalty," Gorman said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.

Elks National Hoop Shoot Free Throw Contest Craig results

Boys

8 and 9

First — Jayden Evenson

Second — Jordan Fager

Third — Michael Sigmon

10 and 11

First — Tanner Dugan

Second — Evan Beaver

Third — Hudson Jones

12 and 13

First — Cort Murphy

Second — Jose Del Toro

Third — Easton Briggs

Girls

8 and 9

First — Lillian Burke

Second — Daisy Rojas

Third — Adrian Profumo

10 and 11

First — Antonia Vasquez

Second — Mikah Vasquez

Third — Abby Herrera

12 and 13

First — Jacie Evenson

Second — Olivia Profumo

Third — Sophie Hough