BERLIN â€“ The foul line didnâ€™t stand a chance against basketballâ€™s rising stars this past weekend.
The Knights of Columbus Council 3675 of St. Paul Church in Kensington hosted its annual Free Throw Contest Sunday inside the St. Paul School gymnasium. About a dozen boys and girls ages 9 to 14 showed up to compete in their age brackets.
Ten-year-old Ty Puzio won in a sudden death shooting match for his age group.
â€śI feel excited, like I accomplished something,â€ť Puzio said afterwards.
The Hubbard Elementary School student also plays for Berlinâ€™s Travel Basketball program.
â€śI hope I can play in other events like this down the road,â€ť he said of the free throw contest.
Puzio took home a Knights of Columbus Free Throw Champion prize basketball and will now advance to the K of Câ€™s regional competition.
â€śIâ€™m appreciative of that ball,â€ť he added.
Each contestant made 15 consecutive free-throw attempts from the age-designated foul line. Ties were broken by subsequent rounds of five free throws.
Sister and brother Abigail and Aaron Kim, ages 13 and 9, both emerged winners in their respective age groups.
Their father John Kim said the family was headed off to Canton for a travel basketball event and then South Windsor later on in the day.
â€śThey do a very nice job,â€ť Kim pointed out of the Knightsâ€™ contest. â€śI commend the Knights of Columbus for the great service they do in the community and for the kids.â€ť
Abigail and Aaron both attend school at St. Paulâ€™s and this wasnâ€™t their first time competing .
â€śThe unfortunate thing this year was there werenâ€™t too many participants,â€ť Kim said.
Council 3675 Grand Night Tom Drzata told the Herald that it was difficult to recruit families due to the coronavirus pandemic.
â€śSmall turnout, but still a nice event,â€ť Drzata said. â€śFree throw competition is great fun for the kids. Whether you are an experienced player or just a novice, all kids can compete on free throws. This is just one of the events the Knights sponsor so all family members can enjoy.â€ť
The local competition has been going on for at least 20 years and the Knights of Columbus organizationâ€™s national Free Throw Championship has been around since 1972, with the goal of promoting athleticism, sportsmanship and healthy competition.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at email@example.com.