March 4, 2022 — Miles Decker and Torelan DeSantis first qualified for districts at a competition in Florence on Dec. 18. Then, at districts on Feb. 5, Decker won the 8-9 year old and DeSantis won the 10-11 year old divisions, which earned them both a trip to the state competition in Silverton.
Both kids shot well, and Decker finished third in the entire state for his age group, an impressive accomplishment considering he faced competitors from all over the state of Oregon.
"Florence Elks Lodge #1858 would like to congratulate and recognize our two boys," the local club posted. "It was a tough competition, and we were so proud to be represented by these two young men."
The performance by Decker was not completely unexpected. He comes from a long line of basketball players, many of whom have competed, and excelled, at the Elk’s Hoop Shoot.
The tradition started in 1962 when Decker’s grandfather (and Siuslaw News columnist) Lloyd Little won his age group at Hermiston’s Elks Hoop Shoot. It was a boys-only contest at the time.
Thirty-one years later, Decker’s uncle, Brandon Little, competed at the Florence Elks #1858 Hoop Shoot in 1993, winning with an impressive 24 out of 25 free throws made. In 1995, Brandon again won the local event. This time he also won district and ended up finishing fifth in the entire state of Oregon.
Even Decker’s mother, Charnae, competed in the Florence Hoop Shoot in 1996 and 1997.
The shining star of Decker’s family free throw shooting tradition is his aunt Alaura.
In 1999, she not only won the Florence competition but went on to win the Oregon state championship and then finish third in the regional competition, that included competitors for all the states in the northwest United States.
It’s a proud tradition for Decker, and a huge success for DeSantis.
“Florence Elks Lodge would like to thank all the participants in this years’ coeducational youth athletic program, Elks Hoop Shoot,” said George Bandy, Esteemed Leading Knight.
For more information on Elks Hoop Shoot, contact www.elks.org.
For more information on Florence Elks Lodge #1858, visit www.florenceelks.com.