11-year-old free throw star is national foul shot finalist

11-year-old free throw star is national foul shot finalist
Mason Arthur, 11, will compete for the national free throw title in Chicago. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

NEW WASHINGTON, IN (WAVE) - An 11-year-old boy from New Washington is representing his town and his state as a national finalist in the Elks Hoop Shoot competition.

Mason Arthur, a fifth-grade student at New Washington Elementary School, is one of 72 finalists to make it to the national competition -- the only one to make it to this level from Indiana.

He'll compete against 11 other boys in his age division for the national free throw title.

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On a Friday afternoon, students at New Washington Elementary are thinking about the weekend, but not Arthur. Shooting free throws is what he spends his time thinking about and practicing for.

"I usually spend like an hour each day," he told us.

His best friend Connor is usually nearby, there for the rebounds. Arthur can beat just about anyone, even his father, who played basketball in college.

"It was really great, I started jumping up and down screaming because I've never beat him before," he recalled.

That free throw accuracy made him a national finalist in the Elks Hoop Shoot competition. His PE teacher Jackie Bowen isn't surprised.

"But you know why he's so good? Because he practices and practices and practices," Bowen told us. "We let him practice every morning while all the students are in here."

"Yeah, it's a little embarrassing," he said. "They cheer and clap and teacher, Ms. Bowen, makes me walk around and show the trophy to everyone."

Ms. Bowen is Arthur's self-proclaimed biggest fan.

He's spent hundreds of hours on the court shooting countless free throws to get to this national competition. And now, it'll come down to just 25 free throws.

"I just want to get better and I like to practice, I like to be the best one on the court," Arthur said.

Bowen added: "He is amazing. He can just get those shots right through, one after another."

His school is rooting for him in the weeks before nationals and Arthur has just one thing on his mind.

"Winning," he said. "Getting a big trophy."

Arthur's family will travel to Chicago on April 19 to cheer him on as he goes for the national title.

But no matter what, his talent is giving his family, his community, and himself a lot to be proud of -- win or lose.

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