Young basketball players turn out for Knights' free-throw competition

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Hebron - posted Mon., Feb. 4, 2013
Jack Turco, who sank 24 out of 25 free-throws at the state level competition last year to win his age division, watches as others compete in this year's Hebron free-throw competition. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Jack Turco, who sank 24 out of 25 free-throws at the state level competition last year to win his age division, watches as others compete in this year's Hebron free-throw competition. Photos by Melanie Savage.

The registration table at this year’s local Knights of Columbus (Council 11835) free-throw competition displayed a ReminderNews issue from 2009. That was because that year, the very first year that the local Knights participated in the national event, a local sixth-grader advanced all the way to the national level. Jared Eaton, a sixth-grader at the time, made 24 out of 25 baskets at the state competition, which qualified him for the national title. He tied with a competitor from Ontario for the international title. “So, of course, we were pretty thrilled,” said Knights member Phillip Sutton, a facilitator for the event. Sutton pointed out that the Knights “couldn’t put this together without the assistance of Hebron Parks and Recreation.”

This year’s event drew dozens of hopefuls between the ages of 10 and 14, including Jack Turco, who won the state competition last year with a total of 24 good shots out of 25. Turco plays for the local seventh-grade travel basketball team. “Everybody calls me Mr. Perfect on the team,” he said, adding that he has a pretty good record for free throws. Turco said he practices between 15 and 20 minutes a day in his driveway after school, weather-permitting.

Connor, Mike and Caden, three Hebron fifth-graders who were participating in this year’s competition, also said they practice free-throws regularly after school. Two of the three were currently involved in try-outs for the local travel team.

The Knights provided a list of the winners from the Jan. 31 local competition. They were: girls age 10, Joy Patel; boys age 10, Caden Coleman; boys age 11, Michael Landrey; boys age 12, Jack Turco; girls age 12, Katie Shea; girls age 14, Jenna Moreira.

“As of now, we’re not sure where the next level will be held,” said Knights member Adam Phelps. “The date for the next level is February 11th.”

“Since 1972, councils have sponsored the Knights of Columbus International Free Throw Championship for boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 14,” according to the Knights of Columbus website (www.kofc.org). “Bishop John Barres of Allentown, Penn., a former collegiate basketball player at Princeton University, is a strong supporter of the Free Throw Championship,” reads the site. “He sees the focus and discipline required to achieve athletic excellence as being valuable in the faith formation and character development of young people. In addition, healthy competition helps young people to handle both good fortune and adversity with grace and dignity."


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