1/22/2014 8:31:00 AM Local kids move on to compete in district Elks Hoop Shoot
Review/Salina Sialega Daysi Melendez, 9, a student at Del Rio Elementary School, takes a warm-up shot Saturday during the Chino Valley Elks Hoop Shoot at Heritage Middle School gym in Chino Valley, where she took second in her age category for girls.
Nine-year-old Daysi Melendez got free-throw advice from her brother, Rudy, 10, as she was about to compete in the Chino Valley Elks Hoop Shoot Saturday at the Heritage Middle School.
Rudy won in his age category for boys in last year's competition, so he was a good person to ask.
"I told her to step back from the line a few inches, then jump up to land close to the line but not over it," Rudy whispered.
The advice helped and Daysi came in second. Shaelee Echeverria, 9, of Williams came in first in their age category for girls. Both girls received a medal and a certificate, as did each first- and second-place winners in their age categories for both boys and girls on Saturday.
Other Chino Valley winners from Saturday's competition are Daviren Passmore and Seth Jelovic in the 10-11 Divisions for girls and boys respectively. Jesus Salazar of Williams won the Boys 8-9 Division and Alaina Karlsberger of Williams won the Girls 12-13 Division.
First-place winners will advance to the Elks Northwest District competition on Feb. 1 against kids from 11 other Elks lodges, along with winners in age categories up to age 13 in both boys and girls categories.
The Chino Valley Elks also will host the district competition at the Heritage gym, and will send winners on to state competition on Feb. 8 in Apache Junction, Ariz.; regionals Feb. 22 in Las Vegas; and nationals on April 12 in Springfield, Mass.; with trophies and various prizes along the way, and for a top prize of winners' names placed in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Chino Elks started with competitions at the school level in October at Del Rio Elementary School, Heritage Middle School and schools in Williams. Twenty-nine students won spots to compete in Saturday's Hoop Shoot and their parents received letters inviting them.
Elks required silence in the gym as competitors took a total of 25 shots each and could take warm-up shots. Competitors ages 10 and older used the court's free-throw line and 8- and 9-year-olds used a closer line marked with blue tape.
From the youngest on up, competitors showed serious concentration and motivation. After each age category for both boys and girls, Chino Valley Elks President Beverly Swanty presented first- and second-place winners a medal on a red, white and blue ribbon and a certificate.
Elks lodges pay for the top winners and their parents to travel to each competition, including airfare to nationals in Massachusetts.
The Elks sponsor Hoop Shoots across the country to provide "youth an opportunity to compete, connect and succeed."
People can get more information about the Hoop Shoot program at the Elks' website at www.elks.org/hoopshoot.