Olds Elementary School teacher Randy Kish (left), with student Spencer Clifford and Richard Bodnar, chair of the Basketball Free Throw championship. (Contributed photo).

Olds student uses his ‘NBA flick’ to win free-throw basketball championship

Spencer Clifford starts his school day by sinking a few baskets

About 120 students at Olds Elementary School start their day with a ‘Good Morning Basketball’ before-school program designed to rev-up their brain power with activity.

“Basically, kids come through the (gym) door, I play music, and they practise their shooting and dribbling skills,” said teacher Randy Kish, who’s been running the informal program for 11 years to provide a fun start to the day.

Grade 4 student Spencer Clifford, has obviously learned his basketball moves lessons well.

As the school’s star shooter, Clifford also just won a provincial first in a Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship over about 150 other Alberta students.

He is one of five Chinook’s Edge students to be named champs in the challenge. The others from various Olds schools are Lugereke Shamvu, Zoey McCormick, Austin Schoonderbeek, and Naomi Rieberger.

Ten-year-old Clifford said he practises “a lot” and also has a trick or two up his sleeve. He uses “the NBA flick,” which means “you flick your wrist (as you throw) and it get a nice backspin, which helps get the ball in the net.”

Despite being just under five feet tall, Clifford has earned other recognition for his ability to repeatedly sink baskets. Last December, he went head to head with Brittany Thibeaux of the Old College Broncos, the top scorer in the country for women’s college basketball — and tied with her.

The two had to go to a shoot-out (which Thibeaux won by just one point), recalled Kish, with a chuckle.

“He’s an amazing guy, this Spencer,” added the teacher, who noted Clifford is the first student who’s won the school championship in all three years that he’s entered.

Clifford will be leaving the elementary school in June, but plans to keep practising basketball in middle school — and hopefully all the way through to university. “I find it fun and challenging.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

More than $25k raised for Red Deer firefighter who is recovering in hospital

‘I think the support he’s getting is because of the person he is’

Lacombe backs Blackfalds stormwater plan

Stormwater management plan will open up more land for development in Blackfalds

Two men facing charges in alleged abduction

RCMP issued alert for woman on Wednesday morning who was found safe later that day

Red Deer RCMP seek public assistance to identify suspect in indecent acts

Red Deer RCMP are looking for a man believed to be responsible… Continue reading

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

Leon Draisaitl has overtime winner as Edmonton Oilers down Boston Bruins 3-2

EDMONTON — Connor McDavid set up Leon Draisaitl for the overtime winner… Continue reading

Edmonton girl guide sells out of cookies in front of cannabis store on first day

EDMONTON — She’s being called one smart cookie. As people lined up… Continue reading

New vacuum needed: Calgary family adopts three bonded St. Bernard buddies

EDMONTON — Three adult St. Bernards who couldn’t be separated because they’re… Continue reading

Film with Fan Bingbing, Bruce Willis cancelled after tax case

BEIJING — The director of “Air Strike,” featuring Chinese actress Fan Bingbing,… Continue reading

Michael Buble shuts down rumours of retirement from music

LOS ANGELES — Michael Buble is shutting down rumours that he’s going… Continue reading

After Canada legalizes pot, industry eyes rest of the world

MONTREAL — Cam Battley is a top executive at one of Canada’s… Continue reading

Facebook’s election ‘war room’ takes aim at fake information

MENLO PARK, Calif. — In an otherwise innocuous part of Facebook’s expansive… Continue reading

Military to overhaul morale-boosting trips after review finds serious problems

OTTAWA — Canada’s top general is overhauling military morale-boosting tours after an… Continue reading

Most Read