TWENTYNINE PALMS — Future Wildcat basketball stars will take the first steps toward the possibility of competing on the national stage this weekend.

Young basketball players, age 8 to 13, are invited to take part in the Twentynine Palms competition for the Elks National Free Throw “Hoop Shoot” Contest.

The competition, the first of several steps leading to the national finals, will be held at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Richard A. Casey Memorial Gymnasium on the Twentynine Palms High School campus, 72750 Wildcat Way.

Contestants will sign up the day of the competition. Participation is free and each winner will receive a basketball and be invited to advance to the next level of competition.

Each contestant will be given 25 shots to sink as many free throws as they can. Spectators are welcome

Competition will be divided by gender and age with 8- and 9-year-olds, 10- and 11-year-olds and 12- and 13-year-old competing in separate divisions.

One boy and one girl in each age division will advance to the next stage of the competition.

The next stage, district competition, will be held in Blythe on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019.

Competitions, held across the country, will lead to the 2019 Hoot Shoot National Finals on April 27 in Chicago.

Last year Anthony Thompson of Dayton, Ohio, took top national honors in the boys 8- and 9-year-old division.

After sinking 24 of 25 free throws to finish in a three way tie for first place, he outlasted Kaden Cowgill of San Antonio, Texas, and Aiden Karo or Clifton Park, New York, by sinking 30 free throws in a row.

For more information about the competition go online to

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