Getting their hoops up

January 16, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

HAGERSTOWN - Logan Bachtell didn't just dribble the basketball before each shot in Saturday's Washington County Elks 378 Hoop Shoot.

She pounded the ball onto St. Maria Goretti High School's gym floor, and once onto her foot.

But instead of letting that misstep throw off her focus, the 10-year-old pulled it together and made the next shot.

"I was thinking that I wasn't going to get to dribble again, and so I just concentrated more," Logan said.

Logan said she made only four or five of her 15 attempts from the free throw line, but that wouldn't discourage her from competing again next year.

"It was a little nerve-racking," said Logan, dressed in her Smithsburg Elementary School purple-and-white basketball uniform.

With each shot, the 104 participants made Saturday, the eyes of their competitors, family, friends and judges were on them. The gym was divided into four sections, so four youths shot at a time.


To compete on Saturday, the youths had to win the shootout at their Washington County school, said Cokey Robertson, St. Maria Goretti's boys basketball coach and county hoop shoot director.

Girls and boys competed separately in three age groups - 8 and 9, 10 and 11, and 12 and 13, Robertson said. They each attempted 15 shots at the 10-foot-high hoop in a preliminary round, with the top scorers getting another 10 shots in a championship round.

The 8- and 9-year-olds stood 11 feet in front of the basket, while the older youths stood at the free throw line, 15 feet from the basket, Robertson said.

Many youths used two-handed shots and some tossed the ball underhand because they aren't strong enough to make a one-handed shot.

The 4-foot-8 Logan, who learned to play from her grandfather, Robertson, and her father, Rick Bachtell, shot one-handed. Logan's mother is Laurie Bachtell.

The winners in each age group, for boys and girls, are invited to compete in Jan. 29's Western District Shootout at St. Maria Goretti, Robertson said. The district consists of Washington, Frederick, Allegany, Garrett and Carroll counties.

They include Smithsburg Middle School sixth-grader Jesse Lombardi, 11, who won the boys age group for 10- and 11-year-olds.

Lombardi made 23 of 25 shots, which was the best overall score in the competition, Robertson said.

"I was a lot more nervous this year," said Jesse, who made it to the championship round in the county hoop shoot last year. He is the son of Guy and Nancy Lombardi.

Jesse attributed his nervousness to the presence of his friends, but said he likes playing under pressure.

While Jesse was taking his shots, his father was standing just outside the opposite side of the gym, watching through the doorway.

Guy Lombardi remarked to those around him that he was afraid to move from that spot while his son was on such a roll.

"I didn't want to jinx it," he said after the competition.

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