Youngsters Invited To Showcase Hoop Skills

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The annual Elks Hoop Shoot, Dec. 3 in the Tonto Apache Reservation gymnasium, will provide Rim country hardwood hopefuls a stage to showcase their shooting skills.

Boys and girls eight to 13-years of age are eligible to compete, but must bring proof of age to the free event.

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Fledgling basketball players will have the opportunity to hone their skills at the Elks Hoop Shoot.

The 8- to 9-year-olds shoot begins at 9 a.m. and the competition for those 10 and 11 is at 10 a.m. The day wraps up with the 12- to 13-year competition at 11 a.m.

Age groups are determined by ages on April 1, 2006.

According to contest rules, contestants are allowed 10 minutes of warm-up time followed by five practice free throws. Then, each contestant shoots 10 free throws. After all youngsters have completed their initial 10 shot attempts, they are given 15 additional shots to complete the 25 tabulated for the official score.

Winners are determined by the most successful shot attempts. In case of ties, as occurred in 2002, five additional shots are awarded to determine first, second and third places in each of the sex/age divisions. In the 8- to 9-year age competition, the smaller youth ball is used. In the two older boys division, contestants shoot the regulation-size high school ball. The older girls division use the high school girls official ball.

The six Payson Elks Lodge champions, one boy and one girl in each age group, are eligible to participate in the Elks district competition. Most district contests have from five to 12 lodge champions competing against one another. The six finalists in each district contest earn the right to participate in the state contest. State winners are awarded berths in the national finals.

The names of the national champions are displayed at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

Elks officials tout the hoop shoot program as one that provides a constructive, character-building experience that is "free from outside influence of parents, coaches or teammates."

Elks officials urge participants to be on time for the event. Late competitors will not be allowed to enter.

For more information, call Frank Patch at (928) 474-8033.

Calling all vets

The Payson High School boys basketball team has issued an invitation to all military veterans and those currently serving, to attend free of charge Dec. 7 game against Fountain Hills in the old PHS gym.

In recognition of Pearl Harbor, the team will host a flag ceremony presented by the Civil Air Patrol Cadets. The ceremony begins at 6:15 p.m.

After the posting of the colors, all veterans will be honored. The veterans are invited to remain after the ceremony for the basketball game.

The varsity game tips off at 7 p.m. Veterans will be admitted with proper identification.

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