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Local ladies capture Super Swish honors in 11-12 age group

January 8, 2019

PASADENA - There was a little bit of a Deer Park influence from the group of 11 and 12-year-old girls who were competing in this past Saturday’s 16th Super Swish Free-Throw championships.

And some trophy-winning efforts as well.

The kickoff to Pasadena’s youth basketball season saw 65 children in three age divisions celebrate the return of Super Swish after a two-year vacation from the local sports scene.

With every player attempting 15 free-throw shots at PAL Gym, Valerie Zuniga of the Ballers narrowly captured the first-place trophy by sinking 11-of-15 or a pretty salty 73.3 percent.

For Zuniga, it was her third Super Swish trophy. She also garnered trophies in 2015 and 2016.

Her third trophy wasn’t assured until the very end. She had to rally over her final seven foul shots to get that trophy. Trailing by three to the leader, Zuniga drained her last seven looks at the goal for the prize.

The effort to claim the top trophy came down to a dramatic 15th and final free-throw attempt. Had their been a tie, there would have been a sudden death playoff, meaning 10 more free-throw attempts.

Capturing second place by the thinnest of margins was Kerbi Bower, who will be playing for the Hot Shots.

Bower, in finishing with a 10-of-15 effort or 66.6 percent, started out extremely strong, finding the bottom of the net on seven of her opening eight tries, including six straight after missing her second try.

But over her last seven shots, she cooled off a bit, opening the door for Zuniga’s arrival to the title.

One of Zuniga’s teammates on the Ballers, Ariel Rodriguez, secured the third-place trophy by sinking 8-of-15. She was headed for trouble until she knocked down her last three free-throw attempts.

The other 11 and 12-year-old female competitors saw Alana Whitaker of the Sugar Ladies sink 6-of-15, Kalaiah Flores of the Sugar Ladies bag 5-of-15 and Bowyer’s teammate on the Hot Shots, Savannah Reyna sink 5-of-15.

The 11 and 12-year-old boys champion was Julio Cisneros, who hit 12-of-15.

The actual season will get under way Jan. 19 where Zuniga, Bower and all the other girls will be displaying their free-throw shooting talents every Saturday.

ravery@hcnonline.com

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