Jameson Green of Durango has proven he’s one of the best free throw shooters around. On April 30, he’ll get the chance to compete for a national title at the free-throw line.
Green recently won the Elks Hoop Shoot West Central Region 8 championship in Colorado Springs in the 8-9 age group, sinking 22 of 25 shots. Competing with state champions from Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming, Green ended up tied with Ty Beavers from Kansas for the overall top scorer. Green, however, won in a tiebreaker shoot-off.
Green now advances to the National Hoop Shoot contest being held in Chicago. He will compete against 11 other boys in the 8-9-year-old category, and the national champions in each age group will have their names displayed at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Green is the second Durango shooter to advance to the national contest in the past six years. Durango High School senior Anthony Flint advanced to the national finals in 2016 and finished second.
Green’s road to nationals began at the local contest hosted by Durango Elks Lodge No. 507, competing with players from Durango, Bayfield and Ignacio, Jan. 15 at St. Columbia Catholic School. Green, was one of four local champions, along with Camryn Sheppard (10-11 girls), Miles Hutcheson (10-11 boys) and Coan Anderson (12-13 boys).
At the Colorado West District competition Feb. 5 in Olathe, Green and Anderson both sank 21-of-25 free throws to win their divisions and tie as the overall top scorers. Sheppard and Hutcheson both finished as runners up, with Sheppard making 17 of her shots and Hutcheson sinking 10.
At the state competition in Salida on Feb. 26, Green had his best performance so far, making 23-of-25 free throws.
Anderson, who was a defending state champ from 2020, made 18 of 25, but was unable to advance to the region 8 championship.
Green then had another good performance with 22 buckets to qualify for nationals.
This year is also the 50th anniversary for the Elks Hoop Shoot.
“For 50 years, the Hoop Shoot has been developing gritty kids!” said Dewey Waldron, Durango Elks Lodge No. 507 hoop shoot director. “The contestants connect with new friends and learn valuable skills like hard work and good sportsmanship that will help them succeed on and off the court.”
Waldron thanked sponsors La Plata Electric and Durango Coca-Cola Bottling, St. Columba School for opening their gym, Durango Elks Lodge members for volunteering their time and Eric Crist of Fort Lewis College for opening up the college’s gym for the kids to practice on. “This additional practice time was monumental in preparing our kids for their next contests,” Waldron said.