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Taking her title shot

11-year-old Muir student Fabiana Jimenez is one of only 72 athletes nationally to earn a spot in the Elks National Hoop Shoot Finals

April 24, 2010|By Jeff Tully

Fabiana Jimenez doesn’t have much time to devote to her basketball shooting skills.

Along with playing softball, Jimenez is an honor student at John Muir Middle School, and she devotes much of her time to her studies.

“Sadly, she really doesn’t practice basketball that much, maybe an hour a week,” said Fabiana’s father, CJ. “That’s because she is a very good student, and for us school is always first. She is in the [Gifted and Talented Education] program, and that takes up a lot of her time.”

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Fabiana did take time off from her studies to get some free-throw shooting practice in Wednesday at Olive Recreation Center. It was her last chance to practice before heading off to a big event.

Despite her lack of practice, Jimenez has perfected her free-throw shooting. So much so, in fact, that her skill has helped her advance to a national competition.

Jimenez is in Springfield, Mass. to take part in today’s Elks National Hoop Shoot Finals. The event will take place at Western New England College.

The sixth-grader will take part in the girls’ 10-11 division and is one of 72 national finalists who will compete.

Going up against some of the best shooters in the nation, Jimenez said she has definitely been feeling the pressure.

“I’m more nervous than excited,” she said. “I have been thinking about it a lot, and I know it’s going to be tough.”

A veteran of local Hoop Shoot competitions, this is the first time Jimenez has advanced to the national final. She said she enjoys competing.

“I actually like the competition,” she said. “I like to see what I can do. It’s fun.”

Sponsored by the Burbank Elks Lodge No. 1497, Jimenez has won five straight local Hoop Shoot contests on her way to the finals. Along with capturing a school competition, she finished first in the Burbank Elks Hoop Shoot event, won the Metropolitan District tournament and the won the Southern California Finals.

That led her to the West Region 7 Hoop Shoot Semifinals on Feb. 19 in Las Vegas. Jimenez sank 19 of 25 attempts from the charity stripe to beat out competitors from Arizona, Utah and Nevada.

Although she said she is happy to be in the finals, Jimenez admits she didn’t expect to advance this far in the competition.

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