Elks Hoop Shoot report

Steve Breuer

The march of champions continued Feb. 7 as the local Southern Tier squad of two weeks ago faced off against the three other regions in this part of the state for the right to move to the New York State championship to be held March 7 in Syracuse. The competition is much keener at this level, and scores necessary to advance so indicated that fact with all the results from St. Mary's gym in Elmira listed below.

In the boys ages 8/9 category the winner was West candidate Dray Akin from Lockport who drew the number four position and after watching his three competitors go 4/10, 6/10. and 4/10, Dray stepped to the line and drilled all ten of his shots to intimidate the rest of the field. He then made the first eight shots in the second round (higher math says that's a big 18 in a row) before showing he was human and finishing with 22 of 25 on the day. Second place went to Cayden Lawson of the South Central District making 18 of his 25 shots while our Southern Tier District, Russ Dominick finished fourth with 11 of 25.

On the girls side of the same age group, the West District pulled out its second win as Meadow Furmerelle went 7-for-10 and 8-for-15 to finish 5 shots ahead of her nearest competitor for the first place prize while Kyleigh Chapman of the West Central District finished second with 10 of her 25 shots counting for score. Southern Tier representative Carly Arnold finished the day in third place in this group.

On to the boys and girls ages 10/11 and from the boys' side our Southern Tier managed our first, and as it would turn out, our only top spot of the day when Dylan Morse of Watkins Glen blew away the competition by going 9 for his first 10 and 12 of his next 15 for a 21 of 25 performance and the capture of the first place trophy. The runner-up in this division would be West Central's Steve Preston with 14 of 25 hut Dylan was clearly out in front the whole way. From the girl's side, South Central's Abigail Spiess from the South Central District eked out a one shot win over Penn Yan's Kiana Larham for the top prize. In the first set Abigail went 5 tor 10 while Kiana held the edge going 8 for 10. Kianamade 8 again in the 15 round while Abigail hit on 12 of her shots including her last 9 in a row. Kiana made 10 in the local, 11 in the district, and now went for 16 on Saturday which unfortunately was one less than she needed to move on. Great improvement over the four weeks however is duly noted

Finally, moving to the boys and girls ages 12/13, again for the boys it would be close but no cigar, as Gavin Buck from West Central hooked up with Nate Herman of South Central and Gabe Wertman of the Southern Tier by way of Penn Yan for a down to the wire match. Nate finished with 19 of 20 and Gavin shooting in spot two made his final shot to go 22 for 25. Gabe moved to line from the third spot and needed his last three shots just to tie Gavin. He coolly dropped all three in the hole and thus we had a shootout. Gavin went first and banged home all 5 of his free throws. Gabe made the first two and then had to watch while number three rolled around and out Disappointment obviously but he also fired the last two in to capture the second place trophy. On the girls side, the winner was Caiden Crego from the West Central who started 6 of 10 and in second place only to drop 14 of her final 15 shots through the net for a three shot victory over Quinn Burke of the South Central District. Caiden has competed before as evidenced by the championship hoop shoot jacket she wore to the competition. Jenna Curbeau of Penn Yan and the Southern Tier saw her day start off the mark and was never able to recover and make a run at the top spot.

After a couple of second place finishes, Penn Yan youngsters acquitted themselves well on Saturday but now that our little community is out of the running for any further prizes, this will end my coverage of the 2015 Hoop Shoot. Put the second Saturday of January in 2016 on your calendar. That's when this will all start again and all boys/girls ages 8-13 are again eligible to participate. Remember that this year we didn't even have a contestant in one of our local groups. Go out and practice some free throws and who knows. Next year you may well be a champion and the subject of this column. Thanks to all who did participate and 1 hope to see all eligible participants next year