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.”



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Springbrook Skate Park gets financial boost

Province approves $125,000 grant for proposed skate park

ReThink Red Deer gets thumbs up from city on pollinator barn structure

Group is hoping to get a $40,000 building grant

Driver who backed into Red Deer pizzeria sentenced

David Andrew Amstutz sentenced for failing to remain at the crash scene

Team Alberta athletes arrive in Red Deer on Saturday for pre-games orientation

Excitement is building with less than a month to go, says Team Alberta spokesperson

UPDATED: STARS Lottery is back

Lacombe STARS patient tells his story

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Netflix rejects request to remove Lac-Megantic images from ‘Bird Box’

At least two shows on Netflix’s Canadian platform briefly use actual footage of the 2013 tragedy

Teen vaping is an epidemic: US government

E-cigarettes are now the top high-risk substance used by teenagers, outpacing cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana

‘I never said there was no collusion,’ Trump lawyer says

President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he has ‘never said there was no collusion’

Most Read