Congratulations to Jared Franklin of Linton who recently finished third in the third round of the annual Elks Hoop Shoot free throw shooting contest. Competing in the 12-13 boys age group, Franklin won local and district competitions to advance to the state-level third round contested February 24 at New Castle’s historic Chrysler Fieldhouse - the nation’s largest high school gym.
Jared Franklin played for the Miner seventh grade team this year. According to Linton high school coach Joey Hart, Franklin has tremendous upside and is a very good shooter out to 3-point range.
If our readers have paid close attention to Elks Hoop Shoot participants of the recent past they might notice most of those kids’ success in Hoop Shoot competitions has translated to the varsity level in high school. For the others it’s simply a matter of those youngsters reaching high-school age.
Read on to find out how some of our local participants have fared in Hoop Shoot competitions the past seven years. Basketball fans may recognize some familiar names.
In 2011 two young Bloomfield girls nearly made it all the way to the National Elks Hoop Shoot Finals in Springfield, Massachusetts - site of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Felicity Graf, then 11, and 8-year old Kylee Shelton each finished second in the Great Lakes Regional competition at Angola (Ind.) - one step away from the national finals.
Graf went on to become the floor general for the Lady Cardinals, earning All-SWIAC, GCDW All-Area and IBCA All-State honorable mention last year, helping lead Bloomfield to two straight sectional championships along the way.
Shelton averaged 11.6 points, four rebounds and 2.5 steals as a freshman starter for the Lady Cards this season, earning spots on the All-SWIAC and GCDW All-Area teams.
In 2012 it was Graf again, along with Linton’s Vanessa Shafford.
In the state contest at New Castle, Graf placed second in the girls 12-13 age group. Shafford was the third-place finisher in the girls 8-9 age group.
This year as one of Linton’s trio of freshman starters, Shafford averaged 17.3 points, nine rebounds, 3.65 assists and two steals leading the Lady Miners’ turnaround from a 7-17 record the previous year to a 20-4 2017-18 season.
In addition to being a consensus All-SWIAC and All-Area selection, Shafford was named to the IBCA/Subway Underclass Small School All-State team.
In 2013 Shelton again made it to the Regional competition in Angola, sinking 80 of 100 free throws along the way.
The next year Bloomfield’s Hannah Frady was the state’s best Hoop Shooter, winning the third round competition at New Castle in the 12-13 girls age group advancing to the Great Lakes Regional at Angola. Frady has since transferred to Linton. The junior forward led the Lady Miners in free throw shooting percentage this past season hitting 43 of 54 (79.6 percent).
That same year Linton’s Josh Pyne finished third among the 11-12 boys at New Castle. Pyne, currently a freshman, led the Miner jayvees in free throw shooting percentage, rebounding and defense this season.
In 2016 a pair of Greene County youngsters were state champions. Aubrey Burgess, then a seventh grader at Linton and Bloomfield fifth grader Brett Sherrard both won their respective age groups at New Castle.
Burgess, now a freshman and described by Lady Miners’ coach Jared Rehmel as a “gym rat” was Linton’s second-leading scorer behind Shafford at 13 points a game.
Brett is the son of Mike Sherrard, Bloomfield’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,212 career points. Brett just finished his seventh grade season for the junior high Cardinals.
Last year Shakamak seventh grader Jaylee Hayes and Linton fifth grader Bradie Chambers made it to the state Hoop Shoot finals at New Castle.
Jaylee Hayes was a key member of Shakamak’s undefeated Lady Lakers eighth-grade team this past season. She figures to make her varsity debut next year as Shakamak welcomes the SWIAC eighth-grade champions as incoming frosh.
Jaylee’s brother Tucker Hayes currently plays for the Linton Miners. Her grandfather John Yeryar is the brother of Gary Yeryar - the grandfather of Tanner Yeryar, the area’s leading scorer in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
Bradie Chambers’ father Jared Chambers starred at Dugger Union where he was a 1997 Indiana All-Star and scored 1,835 career points for the Bulldogs.
One thing is for sure. Once these Hoop Shoot contestants get to the high school level, they’re already accustomed to shooting free throws under pressure in competitive situations.
Thanks to the Elks organization for putting on the Hoop Shoot competition and a big Thank You to our local Elks No. 866 for sponsoring our local youngsters.