TAKING A LONG SHOT

March 30, 2001 12:00 am
FROM HALF COURT: Lauren Sternfeld will have her sight set on the basketball rim at the Rose Garden during halftime of tonight's Blazer-Knicks game. (The Observer/ERIN WITTEN).
FROM HALF COURT: Lauren Sternfeld will have her sight set on the basketball rim at the Rose Garden during halftime of tonight's Blazer-Knicks game. (The Observer/ERIN WITTEN).

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

The La Grande High School girls basketball team ended its season at the state tournament March 9.

LHS junior forward Lauren Sternfeld, however, still has one shot remaining.

Sternfeld will take a half-court shot tonight at Portlands Rose Garden during halftime at the Portland Trail Blazers-New York Knicks game.

She will be one of several Oregon high school girls and boys who will be taking the shot.

All qualified for the opportunity by hitting half-court attempts earlier this year. The shots were taken during halftime of basketball games at the students schools. Sternfeld hit her shot at halftime of a La Grande High School game late in the season.

If Sternfeld connects tonight, LHSs basketball program will receive $1,000 from the Trail Blazers. Should she miss, the school will receive $500.

Sternfeld will start 8 feet behind center court, run and launch her shot. She will fire a running jump shot with two hands.

I will be trying to hit the front of the rim, said Sternfeld, the daughter of Mark and Toni Sternfeld of La Grande.

The half-court shot Sternfeld made at LHS drew nothing but net.

Those cheering for Sternfeld will include nine of her basketball teammates and coaches. The players and coaches will attend the game courtesy of Sternfeld, who received 10 free tickets from the Trail Blazers. Head LHS girls basketball coach Isaac Williams is among those who will be at tonights game.

This couldnt happen to a better person, Williams said.

One challenge Sternfeld will face is a longer distance. NBA courts, at 94 feet, are longer than some high school courts, including La Grandes. Williams said that Sternfelds mid-court shot will have to travel 4 to 5 feet farther than it did at LHS.

Williams thinks that Sternfeld will respond well.

She will be nervous but she will have fun, the coach said.

Following tonights game, Sternfeld and her teammates and coaches will shoot baskets at the Rose Garden with a Trail Blazer yet to be announced.

Sternfeld, who also plays on her schools softball team, has not been practicing for tonights shot. However, she and teammate Shalece Hibbert often took long shots during shoot-around practice sessions this season.

We would say to each other, This shot is for all the money in the world, Sternfeld said.

Tonights shot will not be for all the worlds money, but many people may watch since the game will be televised in Oregon and New York. It is not known if Sternfelds shot will be shown, since announcers often are occupied with giving halftime recaps of the game

The Portland-New York game starts at 7 p.m. and will be televised via Blazer Cable. In La Grande, the game can be seen on Charter Communications cable channel 4.