Lakewood hosts Nuggets Skills Challenge

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Carmody Recreation Center was full with the sound of basketballs being dribbled, sneakers squeaking on the court and the swish of shots being made.

All the players on Friday were children, showing their best basketball skills for a chance to advance in a state-wide tournament.

The center hosted the Denver Nuggets Skill Challenge for children ages 7 through 14, as it has for at least the last five years, according to Stacie Bandy, youth sports programmer for Lakewood.

“It’s one of three challenge events we offer, along with football and baseball challenges,” she said. “The Nuggets even is one of the most popular, since basketball is popular with all age groups.”

More than 80 children showed up to take part in the challenge, and the competitors were broken into groups based on sex and age, and showed their skills in three of basketball’s key areas — shooting, dribbling and passing.

The scores for all the participants are tabulated, and once everything is verified, the highest scoring boy and girl in each age group will go to the sectional competition in February, with a chance at attending the state competition.

Most of the children that take part in the challenge just love sports or the thrill of competing.

Patty Cressford, who was at the gym to watch her grandson Van, 8, compete, said that he is a big fan of sports.

“He’s been playing basketball now, but we’ve never done something like this before,” she said.

Paul Riley’s 7-year-old son, Jazel, not only plays basketball, but football as well, and likes to compete, which is why he decided to take part in the challenge.

“He’s playing in the rec league, and since he likes competition, he wanted to try this,” Paul said.

Bandy said free events like these are something that the city can offer children that is a little more competitive.

“It’s a great opportunity to see how far they can make it in the challenge,” she said. “It provides an opportunity that many don’t normally get.”

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