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

Ride to Conquer Cancer cancels but Red Deerian keeps going

Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer was cancelled due to smoke

Red Deer woman saving animals at wildlife centre with TV show

Victoria Bolhuis, 22, interned at Hope for Wildlife for 10 weeks before moving into paid position

Record-breaking year in Red Deer for smoke

Expect more smoke in Red Deer Wednesday

Mustard Seed prepares people for workforce

Employment Readiness Fair to be held August 28

Updated Red Deer smoke free bylaw to ban smoking cannabis in public

Smoke Free Bylaw returns to Red Deer city council Sept. 4

Kim XO is Black Press Media’s fashionista

Starting Sept. 7, stylist Kim XO will host Fashion Fridays on the Life channel on Black Press Media

Liberals unveil poverty plan with lofty goals, but no new spending programs

OTTAWA — The minister in charge of Canada’s latest national plan to… Continue reading

Case of truck driver charged in Humboldt Broncos crash adjourned until October

MELFORT, Sask. — The case of a Calgary truck driver charged in… Continue reading

Animal crackers break out of their cages

After more than a century behind bars, the beasts on boxes of… Continue reading

Alligator kills woman trying to protect her dog at resort

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — A woman who often walked her dog… Continue reading

Patients redirected as water leak shuts down Edmonton hospital’s emergency room

EDMONTON — Ambulances are being redirected to other hospitals after a water… Continue reading

Parks Canada moves second bison bull that wandered out of Banff National Park

BANFF — Parks Canada says a second bison bull that wandered out… Continue reading

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is scrapping an unpopular lottery system for… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month