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Elks host county Hoop Shoot tournament
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The path to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame could go through a local elementary school this week.

A boy and a girl from each Newton County elementary school advanced to Sunday's county-wide Hoop Shoot free-throw competition at Newton High at 12:30 p.m. presented by the Elks.

The contest started at the Newton County Theme School at Ficquett, East Newton, South Salem, Live Oaks, Livingston, Flint Hill, Porterdale, Fairview and West Newton with one boy and one girl from an 8-9 age group, 10-11 and 12-13, making as many consecutive free throws as they could to advance to compete against other participants from the county.

A winner from each age group in the county's competition will have a chance to reach the district contest, also at Newton High. The winner of the district competition, featuring schools from Augusta over to the South Carolina line to Macon, will progress to the state competition, which will be in Valdosta.

After that, the national competition will be held in Springfield, Mass., and the winners of each age group will get their names into basketball's hall of fame.

But before that, the winners and second-placed finishers will have a chance to get plaques for winning at the county level. On Feb. 9, the Elks will host the district tournament where the first-place finisher will meet up with the five other district winners to do what only one other district winner has done before - win at the state level.
The state winners will also get to go to the Elks national convention in Springfield, Mass., where they will be honored along with their families.

The Elks pay for the travel for all of the winners and their families, according to Elks Hoop Shoot Coordinator Jeff Dial.

More than 2.5 million youth participate in the free event each year.
The free-throw contest is one of the largest non-commercial, coeducational sports programs in the nation. Sponsored by the Protective Order of the Elks and Benevolent, the program is designed to promote good sportsmanship and hard work from the players.

Participants in this year's county competition are:

8-9 Girls
Shay Aikens, East Newton
T'Raja Jordon, South Salem
Kyla Price, Live Oaks
Ashleigh Lazenby, Livingston
Emmani Lindsey, Flint Hill
Jessie St. Louis, Porterdale
Karmyn Veasley, Newton County Theme School
Deshayna Norman, West Newton

8-9 Boys
Khaleb Humphrey, East Newton
Trey Bullington, South Salem
Andre Williams, Live Oaks
Quitavis Gaither, Livingston
Torian Rogers, Flint Hill
Calvert Tonge, Porterdale
Michael Bailey, Fairview
William Thurman, Newton County Theme School
Justin Gotel, West Newton

10-11 Girls
D'Amonique Brown, East Newton
Destiny Hewell, South Salem
Reign Ford, Live Oaks
Ajoyous Tuggle, Livingston
Alysee Dobbs, Flint Hill
Broooke Hegwood, Porterdale
Ananda Bethea, Fairview
Daniel Jackson, Newton County Theme School
Kanaya Hamilton, West Newton

10-11 boys
Joshua Hightower, East Newton
Notorian Jones, South Salem
Robert Lewis, Live Oaks
Michael Tamasi, Livingston
Christian Davis, Flint Hill
Jadon Gibson, Porterdale
Corey Williams, Fairview
Daniel Jackson, Newton County Theme School
Maxwell Calloway, West Newton
Ke'Don Harmon, Middleridge

12-13 Girls
Carleigh Love, South Salem
Aaliyah Neal, Livingstone
Takiya Gotton, Newton County Theme School

12-13 Boys
Darius Gibbons, South Salem
London Feagin, Live Oaks
Jacarius Wise, Livingston
Montez Swan, Flint Hill
Vincent Goffney, Fairview
Greggory Odom, Newton County Theme School
Chris Dowdell, West Newton