Published 7:30 pm Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Excellent shooting form, a fast release and a soft touch should help someone win the upcoming HOOPS Basketball Shoot-Out. (Submitted Photo/BCDC)

Swish! Nothing but net.

If you’re an experienced shooter or simply want to try your hand at shooting baskets and have fun doing it, come join the challenge at the seventh-annual HOOPS Basketball Shoot-Out to be held Saturday at Fitness Unlimited in Washington.

The event begins at 10 a.m.

Players may preregister at the BCDC offices at 1534 W. Fifth St. or at Fitness Unlimited at 622 W. 15th St., but preregistration is not required. On-site registration begins at 9 a.m. Event length will be determined by the number of players who join in the challenge. There is a $10 fee per player. Each player receives an event T-shirt.

The fast-action Shoot-Out, a fundraising event for the Beaufort County Developmental Center, challenges players of all ages, genders and abilities to complete as many shots as possible in 60 seconds. The balls are passed to players from a rapid-fire basketball shooting gun, said Austin Thomas, owner of Fitness Unlimited and Thomas Training.

The top 25 percent of shooters in the first round move on to the second round, in which the distance to the basket is lengthened and the ball machine rotates so players have to do some quick footwork while trying to shoot. Two players move on to the championship round, in which the distance is increased to 19 feet and the ball machine continues to rotate, Thomas said. The winner receives a six-month membership to Fitness Unlimited. Additional prizes will be awarded.

“I really encourage everyone to come out and support an organization that directly impacts our community,” said Thomas.

As in past years, BCDC, Fitness Unlimited and Thomas Training are hosting this year’s event, which is sponsored by more than a dozen local businesses.

Proceeds from the Shoot-Out support BCDC’s community inclusion program, which helps developmentally disabled individuals get out and do things in the community that they otherwise might not be able to do.

“The proceeds are used for things not paid for by other funding sources. They are used to help our consumers do fun, interesting things that they want to do. Maybe go to a movie or do volunteer work or join in events and activities at the senior center,” said Pamela Daw, BCDC’s coordinator of marketing and development.

The proceeds also help provide personal-care supplies such as over-the-counter medications, toiletries, towels and sheets, Daw said.

BCDC’s primary role is to provide educational, residential and vocational services to intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals, helping them to become active members of the community, Daw said. The organization has many facets, from job training and placement programs to childhood development and group homes to transportation.

The first HOOPS Shoot-Out began in 2006 as a means to supplant some BCDC funds that were being cut, said Thomas, a former BCDC board member.

“Years ago, when I served on the board, I really got involved in what they do. They really help a special population. We wanted to find a way to raise additional funds. The first year we had 11 players and last year we had more than 30 so it has really grown,” he said.