GORHAM – Young free-throw shooters hailing from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont will display their skills March 27 in the regional championship of the Elks Hoop Shoot National Free Throw Contest. These sharp-shooting boys and girls already have won local, district and state championships.
With free-throw percentages that would make many in the NBA envious, these talented youngsters have already proven themselves to be the standouts in a competition that started last fall with more than 3 million participants, ages 8 to 13. Now as New England’s top free-throw shooters gather at the University of Southern Maine, they will continue to make news as they take all their hard work, talent and concentration to the line. At stake is a chance to advance to the national finals, where 72 participants will compete April 22-25 at the birthplace of basketball, Springfield, Mass.
Now in its 38th year, the Hoop Shoot, sponsored by Elks-USA, has grown into the largest co-educational sports program in the country, allowing boys and girls to compete separately in three age groups: 8-9, 10-11, and 12-13. Each contest consists of 25 free throws –10 in round one, 15 in round two — with ties being resolved in 5-shot shoot-offs. The six New England regional winners from the competitionwill have a chance to stake their claim to one of the coveted spots on the plaque in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame alongside past Elks Hoop Shoot champs who have become Olympic champions and sports celebrities.
The contest begins at 9 a.m.
The Elks Hoop Shoot National Free Throw Contest is entirely funded by the Elks National Foundation, the charitable arm of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Last year, the Foundation disbursed more than $13-million in support of youth programs, Veterans’ services, drug awareness education programs, college scholarships, and aid to people with disabilities. Elks-USA is a patriotic and philanthropic fraternal organization with nearly 1 million members in more than 2,100 communities.