Monday, February 23, 2009

In the news: Free-throw wizard

Top-ranked Paw Paw shooter, 13, aims for national tourney
Special to Hometown Gazette

PAW PAW – He started close to the hoop, easily banking two- and three-footers off the backboard and through the net. Then Tanner Eubank backed up, launching five-, six- and seven footers toward the rim, some sliding through, some rimming out. His father and coach, Scott, rebounded the basketball and fed it back to him. Tanner worked his legs, bending deep before each shot.

"Now shoot some free throws," his father called out.

Tanner stepped behind the black line painted on the floor of the Trinity Lutheran School gym in Paw Paw. The gym was empty, an entire court behind him and only 15 feet to the basket in front of him. He set his feet, dribbled three times. Cradling the ball in his right hand, he brought it just below his chin.

He bends his knees, stares at the front of the rim, stands and with his hand guides the ball toward the basket.

He missed his first free throw. His father sent the rebound back to him. He missed the second and the third. By the fourth, he warmed up and drilled it. The 13 year old did not smile. He grabbed the ball and shot again, and again, and again. By this time, Tanner started making more free throws than he missed.

He hits 20 in a row, misses one, and then sinks four more, 24 out of 25.

Twenty-four out of 25, last year that sent Tanner and his family to Springfield, Mass., where Tanner competed in the Elks National Hoop Shoot. This year, Tanner is gunning for nationals again.

READ MORE at tinynotebook because has not yet posted this story, and I doubt they plan to.


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