Meet the 2023 BackBoard
Whether it’s two dribbles, one spin, or another combination, every Hoop Shoot competitor has a free throw routine, and the faster the ball gets back to them, the easier it is to maintain their rhythm. Cue the BackBoard. Composed of past National Finalists, the BackBoard serve as role models on and off the National Finals court.

This year’s 11-member BackBoard features an all-star lineup, starting with Jerika Moore, who competed for six years, culminating in a National Championship in 2015. As a high schooler, Jerika kept up with the Hoop Shoot as a volunteer. Now she returns to the Finals as a BackBoard member, collegiate athlete for Bethany College, and an Elk. She joined Canon City, Colo., Lodge No. 610 earlier this year.

Jerika Moore poses with a basketball

Like Jerika, 2016 National Finalist Anthony Flint volunteered at local Hoop Shoot competitions after aging out of the program. His most important tip is to remember that the Finals experience is so much more than shooting free throws. Anthony met people during his time competing that he’s still friends with today. He is also the second member of the BackBoard to play basketball in college.

Faith Sjoberg is the third. Faith is the embodiment of perseverance. Although she never won a National Championship, she competed at the National Finals three years in a row.

“The lessons I learned just from shooting are way beyond any basketball skills," says Faith. "The biggest thing I learned is the power of hard work."

Faith applies that philosophy to more than just basketball; she is also a 2022 Legacy Awards scholar.

Jackson Midyett lives by a similar sentiment. His advice to Finalists is to, “Practice, practice, and practice some more.” Yet, he also recommends that they find time to enjoy the weekend. He calls his 2016 trip to the National Finals a favorite family memory—his sister, Justice, was also a finalist that year.

Although none of the other BackBoard members competed in the Finals during the same year as a sibling, more than a few of them know what it’s like for the Hoop Shoot to be a family affair, including TJ and Peyton Cahill. TJ competed in the Finals in 2012, four years before his sister, and now they’re serving on the BackBoard together.

“As a woman with strong involvement in sports,” says Peyton, “it is my hope to reach out to and communicate with younger girls in athletics in order to promote and celebrate female athleticism.”

Ian McManus’ sister competed in the Hoop Shoot before him, and so did his father. Ian, the first member of the family to make it to the Finals, appreciates the program’s emphasis on hard work.

However, as Chloe Furnstahl will tell you, there comes a time when you have to take a breath and trust that the hard work will pay off. “Relax,” says Chloe. “You made it for a reason.”

When Chloe was training for her own National Finals, she shot 200 free throws a day. Now she has the highest free throw percentage at Grand Canyon University.

A whopping six BackBoard members play college basketball, including Daylee Dunn. Dunn competes in both basketball and track for Fresno State University, crediting the discipline she learned from the Hoop Shoot as a big help.

Gabby Nunez-Gaskins agrees. Although Gabby never took home a National Championship, she made it to the Finals in both 2017 and 2018. Today, she applies the grit she gained from the program to her studies.

Jon Cloud also knows about grit. In his first Hoop Shoot, he took last place in his Lodge contest, but he kept practicing, and he made it to the National Finals in 2010.

Each BackBoard member brings a unique perspective to the National Finals, but they have at least one thing in common: a love for the Hoop Shoot.

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