There were two half-time treats at the Washington Bullets-Boston Celtics match Saturday.
For the 13,424 basketball fans there were individually wrapped Hostess cupcakes. The cupcakes were part of a double celebration - the fourth anniversay of Capital Centre and the 54th birthday of Abe Pollin, owner of the Bullets.
But six metropolitan youghs got a bigger treat as sinners of the area Pepsi/National Basketball Association Hotshot competition: A trip to New Orleans Jan. 22 to compete in the Hotshot division championships.
The winners, who were among 12 are Hotshot finalists:
Boys 16-18-years-old: Alan Keller, 17, 526 Center St., Herndon, Va.
Girls 16-18: Margie McClure, 16, 3314 Tennyson St. SE, Washington.
Boys 13-15: Ronald Ratiff, 13, 4526 3rd St. SE, Washington.
Girls 13-15: Natalie Ho, 15, 8390 Indianhead Hwy., Oxon Hill, Md.
Boys 9-12: Gregory Arnold, 12, 12805 Shulton St., Upper Marlboro, Md.
Girls 9-12: Sandy Wilson, 12, 6805 Autumn Dr., Sykesville, Md.
The winners will compete against age-groups champions from Cleveland, Atlanta, New Orleans, Houston, and San Antonio. After that, there are conference and national championships, following the NBA (National Basketball Association) alignment for the different cities in competition.
The Hotshot rules are simple. There are five spots on the floor worth two to five points, according to degree of difficulty. Each contestant dribbles in from halfcourt, and scores as many points as possible in one minute for shots made from the various spots. The contestant must keep dribbling between each shot; he is penalized one point for each infraction, such as walking, palming, or double-dribbling. He is also allowed two layups, at two points apiece and receives a three-point bonus for attempting a shot from each of the "hot spots."
Finalists competed two at a time.
Keller piled up 52 points in his first two efforts for a 21-point advantage, but could manage only 10 points in his finale. This was still plenty to hold off a fine 20-point effort by Lusk Penn of 7-61st St. NE.
"I just messed up, that's all," said Keller, who at 5-foot-7 didn't bother to try out for the Herndon High School basketball team. "I was just so far ahead, I let it get to me."
While the competition was billed as a breeding ground for future Bullets, the Washington hoop squad will hvae to get in line with everybody else if they hope to sign the players when the develop to NBA quality.
"No way," said Keller when asked if he'd like to play for the Bullets. "If I grew about a foot taller and two feet wider, I'd play for New York."