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Like mother, like daughter

Debra Walker (left) and her daughter, Keeley display their Knights of Columbus Free Throw awards. Debra is holding her Regional and State trophies, while Keeley is holding her first-place plaques.  She won first place in 2010 as an 11-year-old, and the following year as a 12-year-old. Submitted photo.

In the case of one, particular family from West Fargo, the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree.

In 1976, when Debra Walker was 11 years old, she brought home a first-place trophy from the state Knights of Columbus Free Throw competition in Bismarck.

Thirty-five years later, her daughter duplicated the feat: twice.

Keeley Walker, 12, is a two-time Knights of Columbus Free Throw champion, having won last year and this year. She was unable to compete in the district competition in 2010 because of a snowstorm, and also missed 2011 because of a team basketball tournament running at the same time.

The elder Walker took her award by first advancing from regional competition in Edgeley, N.D. At state in Bismarck, she went 31-for-50 to tie with another competitor, she said. The two were forced into a 10-shot shoot-off, with Debra Walker chosen to go first.

"I was extremely nervous, but made my first shot, then continued to make each shot until I finally missed the 10th shot," she said.

Her competitor missed her first two, thus eliminating her from the competition and leaving Debra Walker as the sole winner.

"After I received my trophy, my dad drove me and my family to a toy store in Bismarck,, and told me to pick out anything I wanted as a prize from my family," she said. "I chose a large, stuffed bear that I still have today."