Gabriella D’Angelo seemed cool as a cucumber as she drained free throws in front of a cheering crowd at St. Paul Catholic High School in Bristol And why shouldn’t she? After all, the Southington 11-year-old had already breezed through two previous competitions.
On Sunday, April 2, D’Angelo represented Southington well at the 2017 Knights of Columbus free throw challenge state competition in the St. Paul gym. She sank 21 of her 25 attempts to beat all but one competitor in the 11-year-old division.
D’Angelo was one of seven Southington athletes to brave a snowy Saturday on Jan. 7 to claim a division title at the local contest. She was one of three to survive the Feb. 5 district competition, and she came within one basket of securing a state title.
Her storied run was part of the annual basketball challenge, sponsored locally by the Southington Knights of Columbus Councils 15 and 25. The competition welcomed boys and girls aged 9 to 14 for a chance to prove their mettle at the free throw line.
The Southington competition took place at Southington Catholic School, and the nine division winners advanced to the district competition at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Plainville.
Winners in the local competition were: Matthew Doherty (10); Nathan Humphrey (11); Christian Watson (12); Adriana Shea (13); Gabriella D’Angelo (11); Zoey Rubins (12); and Jenny Yang (14). Doherty, D’Angelo, and Watson secured regional titles.
“The Southington Knights of Columbus congratulate all who competed and thank the parents who supported the event,” local officials said in a press release, “along with Southington Catholic School for the use of their gym, and the Southington Recreation Department and youth basketball league for their help in promoting the event.”