Needham’s Thomas Shaughnessy takes a parting shot for life
HANOVER — Just before leaving high school basketball for good, Needham’s Thomas Shaughnessy left no doubt on Saturday as to who still reigns as the state’s best schoolboy shooter.
Grinding through two-hours of sweat and fatigue, Shaughnessy kept his crown as “Best Shooter in Massachusetts” with his second consecutive victory in “A Shot For Life Challenge” in Hanover. He made 87 percent of his attempts on free throws, mid-range jumpers, and 3-pointers over the event’s two-hour shooting frenzy.
“There’s always going to be stuff to miss about high school basketball for sure,” said Shaughnessy, who made over 90 percent of his shots in last year’s event. “Coming out here as my last big event, it’s nice to win it and it feels good to move on to Brown.”
Danny Yardemian, a rising senior at Belmont High School, finished second at 85.2 percent while Woodstock Academy’s Noah Fernandes was third at 84.4 percent.
Every year, ASFL gathers twelve of the top girls and boys high school shooters to determine Massachusetts’ best. All 24 shooters must raise $1,000 for ASFL’s cancer research initiative. ASFL sends proceeds to the Dr. Curry Research Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital.
This year, the sixth annual ASFL Challenge set a new event record with over $45,000 raised.
In the girls’ event, Braintree’s Adriana Timberlake earned first place honors after shooting 75.3 percent. Weston’s Christina Costa finished in second place at 74.4 percent while Waltham’s Lauren Sampson finished in third at 74.2 percent.
“My arms are killing me but I was lucky that I didn’t get any blisters,” said Timberlake, a rising senior guard. “It’s huge helping kids who are suffering and who can’t come out here to play like we do.”
Timberlake, who received a formal offer from Assumption College earlier this year, hopes her new title as “Best Shooter in Massachusetts” attracts more offers and visits from college coaches across the region. In the meantime, she prepares herself for Braintree’s state title defense after her All-Scholastic junior season.
Mike Slonina, founder and president of ASFL, took pride in the on-and-off-the-court qualities of the shooters recruited for this year’s event.
“We scout the player for ASFL, but we pick the person,” said Slonina, who proudly entered ASFL into a partnership with Under Armour this past year. “Everyone who’s wearing an ASFL Challenge jersey represents a lot of great values off the floor.”
Hingham’s John Gates, a rising senior, raised over $6,000 during his first year competing in the challenge. Tilton Academy’s Cassie Caldwell, competing in her third ASFL Challenge, raised over $3,000 across her three years. Both athletes, motivated by their own parents’ cancer diagnoses, raised money through friends, family and social media initiatives.