Young players shoot for spot in Hall of Fame

Dec 12, 2022

The Wareham Elks Lodge hosted its annual Hoop Shoot National Free Throw Contest at the Gleason Family YMCA on Sunday, Dec 11.

The contest gives kids between the ages of 8 and 13 a chance to show off their basketball skills without having to be part of a team.

The winner of the National Free Throw Finals will have their name and photo displayed at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. 

“It's a small part of what the Elks do,” said event organizer Jim Callan. “We help the community any way we can.”

Competitors stood at the 3-point line to shoot 25 baskets after a warm up of five shots. The player with the most baskets moves up to the district level, where the winner competes against players from nearby communities with Elks Lodges. 

Meadow Diede, 13 took her shot at the three point line for her last year participating in the event. 

Diede plays with Wareham’s Junior Basketball Association and scored five baskets during the Lodge level of the competition.

“It was fun but I feel like I could've done better,” she said. 

Grady Lemieux, 9, said that he was “obsessed” with shooting baskets before taking his practice shots at the 3-point line. 

Lemieux shot 18 out of 25 baskets. He came in first for his age group for the Lodge level competition.

Lemieux, Diede and 10-year-old Ethan Bailey will advance to the District Level on Saturday, Jan. 7.

Callan said that he was grateful for the number of volunteers that ran the event. 

“It’s nice to have people who care, people who came out here on a Sunday to volunteer,” he said.