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Lovell, Thier, Knutson each place fourth at state free throw contest

BLOOMINGTON -- Region 1 free throw shooting champions Kobe Lovell, Elizabeth Thier and Logan Knutson each came close to a top-three trophy-winning performance at the 37th annual Knights of Columbus state free throw shooting contest at Bloomington...

BLOOMINGTON -- Region 1 free throw shooting champions Kobe Lovell, Elizabeth Thier and Logan Knutson each came close to a top-three trophy-winning performance at the 37th annual Knights of Columbus state free throw shooting contest at Bloomington Kennedy High School Saturday morning.

A total of 120 shooters, representing 13 regions, competed in the event held at the school where Minnesota Twins' Hall-of-Famer Kent Hrbek graduated from in 1978.

None of the 10 Region 1 champions -- who earned state-level advancement at Adrian March 13 -- came home with a trophy, but Lovell, Thier and Knutson all placed fourth in their respective age divisions.

Shooting in the 10-year-old boys' division, Lovell (from Windom) finished in a three-way tie for third, making 19-of-25 shots from the 12-foot line.

In the shootoff, Lovell made three-of-five shots, finishing second. His final total of 22-for-30 placed him fourth among 13 regional champions.

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Lovell's original score of 19 matched his regional-winning total.

Thier, who was competing at the state contest for a fifth consecutive time, also ended up fourth after being deadlocked in a triple overtime shootoff for third place in the 14-year-old girls' division.

She made 20-of-25 free throws and then sank 11-of-15 in the three shootoffs, finishing 31-of-40, missing the trophies by a single shot.

Thier is from Adrian and made 21 shots to win the regional competition.

Knutson, from Heron Lake, made 21-of-25 shots and placed a solid fourth -- among 12 shooters -- in the 12-year-old boys' division, finishing behind scores of 23, 22 and 22. The fifth-place shooter made 18 free throws.

Knutson, who made 20 free throws to win the regional contest, improved his score Saturday and finished with the best percentage among all of the Region 1 entrants at Bloomington.

Randi Rose Tiesler (Fulda) and Averi Pankonen (Slayton) both finished fifth in their respective age divisions.

Tiesler, who had made 23 shots at Adrian, was 16-of-25 Saturday, shooting from the 12-foot line in the 11-year-old group.

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Pankonen, who hit 23 shots in the regional, connected on 14 of her attempts in Bloomington, shooting from the regulation 15-foot line as a 12-year-old.

Matt Kennedy, Pipestone, tied for sixth in the 11-year-old boys' division, making 18 shots. Kennedy sank 21 shots to win a closely-contested competition in that age group at Adrian.

Gabby Jensen, Bingham Lake, improved her regional score by one shot as she made 17 free throws Saturday and placed seventh in the 13-year-old girls' division.

Luverne's Tommy Voygrt tied for eighth-place in the 13-year-old boys' age group, making 18-of-25 free throws. Voygrt had won the regional by sinking 22 shots.

Matthew Raak, Jasper, competed in an exceptional field of shooters in the 14-year-old boys' division.

Raak, who was good on 23-of-25 shots to win the region, made 17 shots Saturday, placing 10th among 13 shooters.

Joci Oye, Luverne, made 11 shots as the first shooter in the 10-year-old girls' division. Oye had won the regional by sinking 18 shots from the 12-foot line.

"Shooting at this level of competition -- in such a big atmosphere -- is quite an accomplishment," summed up Knights of Columbus state free throw contest chairman Pat Nelson. "We had some of the best shooting this year that we've ever had. The event was very competitive, which was a great thing to see."

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Four boys -- one 10-year-old, one 13-year-old and two 14-year-olds had perfect scores of 25-for-25.

All 12, 13 and 14-year-old shooters shot from the regulation free throw line, while 10 and 11-year olds took their shots from 12-feet away.

After three warm-up shots, each competitor shot 25 consecutive free throws.

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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