Youth Basketball Bonanza Is Feb. 16

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Rim Country hardwood hopefuls will have the opportunity to showcase the skills they've learned on backyard hoops and in the town-sponsored youth league at the upcoming Youth Basketball Bonanza.

On the same day --eb. 16 --he fifth and sixth-grade league play wraps up, town sports coordinator Joseph Harris will host the annual Bonanza from 10 a.m. to noon in the Rim Country Middle School gym.

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

On to the home of the Suns

Last spring, 15 Rim Country children qualified to participate in the state basketball bonanza finals, which were held in U.S. Airways Arena in Phoenix.

In the 9 and 10-year-old girls free-throw competition, Anaiya Blair took second place. In the 13 and 14-year-old girls age bracket, Rachael Vasquez placed second in the hotshot competition and Jamie McCabe won a silver in the three-point shootout.

Justin Carlen also captured a silver in the 11- and 12-year-old boys free-throw competition.

For more information about any Payson Parks and Recreation sports programs, call Harris at (928) 474-5242, ext 359.

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