Basketball Bonanza Gives Area's Youth Chance To Shine

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The Second Annual Basketball Bonanza will provide aspiring players a stage to brandish what they have learned in pickup games and at the back yard hoop.

The competition, sponsored by the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Parks and Recreation Association and the Payson Parks and Recreation Department, tips off at 9 a.m. Feb. 25 in the Payson High School gymnasium.

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The Basketball Bonanza, a chance for youths to test their hoop skills free of charge, will be held Feb. 25 in PHS gymnasium.

"This is a great opportunity for boys and girls to show off their skills and hopefully participate at a higher level," said Charlene Hunt, recreation specialist for the Payson P&R Department.

The event is open, free of charge, to both boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 14.

In the competition, boys and girls will participate in one of six age/sex divisions: 9-10 years; 11-12 years; and 13-14 years.

In the local competition, players can compete in one or all three basketball contests -- free throw, hot shot and three-point shootout.

In the free throw contest, each player attempts 10 consecutive free throws and the player making the most shots will be declared the division winner. Those in the 9 to 10 age group have the option of shooting from two feet inside the free-throw line.

In the hot shot competition, players begin on a referee's whistle at the half-court line and must dribble into shooting range, where they must shoot from a minimum of three different locations out of seven pre-designated spots, during a one-minute period.

Each shot location will be assigned a point value based on its difficulty.

Those who attempt shots from each of the seven locations will receive a five-point bonus.

The youngster scoring the most points in the time period will be deemed the division winner.

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

Each player will have 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 is worth one point. The fifth ball, deemed the "money ball," is worth two points.

The winners of the Payson competition will be eligible to advance to a statewide Basketball Bonanza at the former America West Arena in Phoenix.

At the state level, however, players may compete in just one skill contest.

Last sign-up

Parents who missed the first three Payson Little League registrations have just one more opportunity to sign up.

The next and final chance will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, in the Rim Country Middle School gymnasium.

The fee is $60 for the first child in a family and $55 for each additional sibling. Parents will also be asked to volunteer in some form during the 2006 season.

Tryouts will begin at 9 a.m. Feb. 25 on the Rumsey south multipurpose field.

Tryouts are mandatory for players 9 years of age and older hoping to play in the majors division.

Little League officials stress the importance of signing up players as soon as possible so that plans for play can be finalized.

Call Linda Schreur at (928) 472-9331 for more information.

Non-native fish to be removed from Stehr Lake

The Arizona Game and Fish Department's more than yearlong effort to remove non-native fish from the Fossil Creek area resumes Feb. 6 through Feb. 20.

A team of biologists will remove the fish from Stehr Lake, a pond located north of Pine near Fossil Creek.

Biologists will treat the pond with the chemical rotenone to remove the non-native fish.

Rotenone is not harmful to humans or other mammals, but as a precaution recreationists should not disturb any containers located near the pond or drink water from the pond during the treatment period.

The lake will be appropriately signed during the activities to advise the public of the presence of the chemical.

The removal of non-native fish began over a year ago just prior to the decommissioning of the Irving-Childs power plant.

Since the plant was shut down, Fossil Creek has been closed to fishing by Arizona Game and Fish Commission orders.

According to AGF Fisheries Branch Chief Larry Riley, the closure is needed to allow fish populations to reproduce and restore themselves. At the conclusion of the ban, game officials predict Fossil Springs could become one of the most productive fishing spots in the nation.

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