Hardwood Hoopsters Heading To State Contest

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Payson champions of the inaugural Basketball Bonanza have earned the opportunity to test their hardwood skills against the best young players in the state. That chance is tentatively scheduled for April 14 at America West Arena in Phoenix.

"It's tentative because we are waiting for a definite time and date from the Arizona Parks and Recreation Department which is sponsoring the event around the state," town of Payson recreation specialist Charlene Hunt said. "We had our Bonanza done before everybody else so we are still waiting."

The event was open, free of charge Feb. 12 in PHS gymnasium, to both boys and girls 9 to 14 years old.

Entrants participated in one of six age/sex divisions: 9-10 years, 11-12 years, and 13-14 years.

Players had the option of competing in one or all of three basketball contests: free throw, hot-shot and a three-point shootout.

In the free throw contest, entrants attempted 10 consecutive free throws and the player who made the most shots was declared the division winner. Those in the 9-10 age group had the option of shooting from two feet inside the free throw line.

In the hot shot competition, players began at the half-court line and had to dribble into shooting range where they shot from a minimum of three different locations during a one-minute period. Each shot location was assigned a point value based on its difficulty. Those who attempted shots from each of the locations received a five-point bonus.

In the three-point shootout, a rack of five balls was placed at five locations around the three-point line 19-feet, 9-inches from the baskets.

Each player had one minute to shoot as many times as possible around the arc. Each successful shot with one of the first four balls on the rack was worth one point. The fifth ball, the "money ball," was worth two points.

The Payson winners

9-10 girls -- Summer Kelly (free throw, three-point, hot shot);

11-12 girls -- Jamie McCabe (three-point), Chrissey Badgley (free throw) and Natasha Nielsen (hot shot);

13-14 girls -- Cydney Figueroa (three-point and hot shot) and Beth Hoyt (free throw);

9-10 boys --allas Haught (three-point), Race Smith (free throw) and Chris Cooper (hot shot);

11-12 boys -- Zach Blazer (three-point), Cameron Geske (free throw) and Josh Butler (hot shot);

13-14 boys -- Chris Blazer (three-point and hot shot) and Devin England (free throw).

At the state level, players can compete in one event only rather than all three as they could during the Payson bonanza. All three of Payson's multi-event winners -- Kelly, Figueroa and Blazer --ave chosen the three-point shoot as their event for the state contest.

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