Morgan Simmons captures New York State Hoop Shoot championship

Steve Breuer
Morgan Simmons of Keuka Park poses with Bill Van Ness, NYS Elks Hoop Shoot Chairman (left) and Jim Russell, Homer Elks Lodge President after being named the New York State Champion in the girls 12-13 Elks Hoop Shoot contest. She advances to the U.S. Eastern Regional Contest in Wilkes Barre, Pa. March 22. For more, turn to page 12.

The beat goes on! On Saturday, February 16th, Morgan Simmons, the 13-year- old daughter of Daren and Julie Simmons, became only the third youngster in the history of the local Elks Hoop Shoot to win her division at the New York State finals held in Homer.

Morgan started the day in perfect form by nailing her first 10 shots.

She went back to the line, made her first two, and then “the wheels came off the bus,” according to her dad. She missed a couple, but got the ship righted in time to go 10 of her last 15 for a very respectable 20 of 25 shots on the day.

More importantly, none of the other girls matched this total meaning that young Miss Simmons is now recognized as the New York State champion free throw shooter in the girls’ 12/13 year old age bracket.

What this also means is that Morgan has won the right to advance to the United States Eastern Regional Contest which will be held in Wilkes Barre, Pa. on Saturday March 22.

There, she will shoot against two other girls, the state winners from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, for the right to advance to the finals in April.

Should she win in Pennsylvania, she would become one of 12 girls in her class across the United States trying to win a contest that could end up with her name inscribed in the basketball Hall of Fame. Morgan only needs one more big day.

If my memory serves me correctly, and there is certainly no guarantee that it does, two other youngsters, both young men, have achieved this feat in my tenure with the program. Robbie Turner and Steve Legg both went to Pennsylvania representing New York State and the Penn Yan Elks Lodge. Albeit neither was able to move on, both boys did our quiet little community proud and caused a great deal of excitement as they progressed through the various contests to reach the Eastern Regional level. Let’s hope this third time is the charm!

Should you see Morgan, if grandfather Neil lets her leave his barn for a few seconds where I’m sure he has her practicing 24/7, wish her well as she strives to become a national champion free throw shooter in the girls’ ages 12/13 division.