Despite Chilly Outdoor Temperatures, Kids Have Hot Hands Shooting Basketballs in K of C Free Throw Championship
While outdoor temperatures were on the chilly side, five Winter Haven youngsters with hot hands shooting basketballs from the free throw line inside the gym at Polk State College (PSC) claimed victories in their respective divisions in the annual Knights of Columbus Council 7091 Free Throw Championship on Saturday, January 26.
In the Girls 13-year-old-division, Aleah McPartlan, a student at St. Joseph Catholic School in Winter Haven, sank 11 of her allotted 15 free throws to earn a first place trophy and a berth in a divisional K of C shoot off. Last year, McPartlan made it all the way to the regionals in Melbourne where she finished third.
McPartlan was sizzling right from the start this year, sinking her first five shots from the charity stripe. She finished with 11 made shots, connecting on six of her last 10.
Devin Booker, who attends Grace Lutheran School in Winter Haven, took home the first place trophy in the Boys 12-year-old division, for emulating Aleah McPartlan by making 11 of his 15 shots. He also earned a berth in the upcoming district round.
Other kids who earned trophies and berths in the district round were Aleah’s brother, Jordan McPartlan of St. Joseph, who sank 8 shots to win the Boys 10 title; Cason Richard of Cypress Junction Montessori School in Winter Haven who took the Boys 13 title by putting 10 shots through the hoop and Keno Forsyth of Winter Haven High School who made seven free throws to become the Boys 14 division champion.
After the competition, trophies were presented to the sharp shooters who finished first in each division. All contestants received a certificate of participation plus a McDonald’s gift card. Four certificates for free cinnamon sticks at Pizza Hut were awarded in a special drawing. The district round will be at St. Joseph School at a time and date to be determined. District winners will advance to the regionals, and if successful on that level, will automatically qualify to compete in the state K of C Free Throw Championship.
The Council 7091 contest at PSC was chaired by William “Billy Bob” Morris, with assistance from fellow knights Ken Nelson, Jim McPartlan and Andrew Brownyard. Elaine Morris helped promote the event and Catherine Frank, a PSC professor and professional calligrapher, inscribed the certificates.
The K of C Youth Free Throw Championship is a major youth initiative of the New Haven, CT-based Knights of Columbus. Each year more than 200,000 boys and girls from all over the United States participate in competitions sponsored by local K of C councils.