Libby’s sharp-shooting champ took his talents to Rapid City, S.D. last week and came out on top.
Participating in the 42nd Annual Regional Elks Hoop Shoot, Ryggs Johnston, 13, made 24-of-25 free-throw attempts, erring only on his final shot, eliciting a gasp from the silent crowd.
A South Dakota shooter matched Johnston’s prowess from the line, forcing a best-of-five overtime period between the two competitiors. Johnston drained all five attempts in the extra session and claimed victory when his opponent clanked his fourth attempt.
Johnston will now travel to basketball’s birthplace, Springfield, Mass., to compete in the national finals April 12. Johnston finished second nationally two years ago, when he won his first regional title.
Including all tournament formats, Johnston has now made 98-of-105 free-throw attempts. His 29-of-30 performance in Rapid City earned him “Best of the Best” male shooter honors.
Almost 3 million boys and girls between the ages 8-13 have participated in hoop shoot competitions this year. The field has since been whittled down to 72 national finalists. Since the tournament began in 1973, Montana has produced five national champion shooters.
Along with covering travel costs for all families involved, the Elks also treated participants to a limousine ride to and from the motel and gym.