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Local youth to compete in Hoop Shoot contest today
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The annual countywide Hoop Shoot contest will be taking place today at Sharp gymnasium (YMCA) from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Three different age groups from 11 different elementary schools will be represented. The age groups range from 8- to 13-year-old  boys and girls. 

 The winners from the county contest will then participate in a district contest Feb. 4 from 8 a.m. to noon. Then a state tournament at Newton High on Feb. 18 from 8 a.m. to noon will take place. A regional tournament will be held in Valdosta, followed by a national tournament. 

The Hoop Shoot contest is a free throw shooting contest that is one of the largest no-commercial, co-educational sports program in America. It is sponsored by Protective Order of the Elks and Benevolent. More than three million kids participate every year. One boy and girl from each age group will go to the National Contest, which will take place in Springfield, Mass. The top six national finalists’ names are inscribed in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. 

 The program is designed to promote good sportsmanship and hard work from the players. It also promotes a drug free life, showing how kids can be more than conquerors in the world. 

The youths representing their age group from their schools are: from Live Oaks Elementary Durline Durisca, Dontae Hardaway and Jordan Releford (8-9) and Tyon Bigby (10-11). From Middle Ridge Elementary school, Ty’liyam Hardamen and Jadden Mitchell (8-9), and Myra Clark and Jacob Dodson (10-11). West Newton is represented by Ina Kwayana and Jesus Ayala (8-9), and Jamiya Williams and Maxwell Calloway (10-11). West Newton is always represented by Cozbi Craig in the 12- and 13-year-old age group. 

Porterdale Elementary will be represented by April Hamom and Jacquez Williams (8-9), with Aviana Barnes and Jagermane Walker for 10- and 11-year-olds. Javon Jackson is also representing Porterdale Elementary in the 12- and 13-year-old age group. 

Rocky Plains is represented by 8- and 9-year-olds Serai Johnson and Dylan New, and 10- and 11-year-olds Danni Duram and Jerry Mays. 

For East Newton,  Lemon Jakiyra and Isaac Casola represent the 8- and 9-year-old group, and Gracie Gereenich and Keenan McDonald represent the 10 and 11-year-olds. 

South Salem will be represented by Aralyn Erett and Dustin Hewell (8-9) and Jenya Smith and Chris Rukundo (10-11).  South Salem is the third school that is represented in the 12- and 13-year- olds with Jamal Hammond. 

The Theme School is represented by 8- and 9-year olds Doinique Lowe and Jedon Hart, and 10- and 11-year olds Bria Randall and Justin Sawyer. Parker Kauffan will represent the Theme School in the 12-13-year-old group as well. 

Flint Hill is represented by Presley Haney and Anthony Krieger (8-9), and India Belcher and Montez Swann (10-11). Fairview elementary is represented by Juique Reed and Sincere Johnson for the 8-9 group and Ariyan Franklin and Kenyon Freeman in the 10- and 11-year-old group. 

Livingston Elementary is represented by 8- and 9-year-olds Jashanti Collins and Dawson Schwartz and 10- and 11-year-olds Jayla Finnissee and Jaden Latimore. Edward Leiza will compete in the 12 and 13-year-old age group.

For more information call Jeff Dial at (770) 846-7218.