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Free throws becoming a lost art

By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
Atkinson, Jackson, Grace, Lambert as well as many high school coaches are all seeing a disturbing decline in performance in what used to be one of basketball's most fundamental areas.
Free throws.
Atkinson could only shake his head at his team's seven-for-15 performance from the free throw line in Friday's 54-51 loss at Andalusia. Among the misses included the front end of three one-and-ones.
Jackson saw his team's five-for-19 mark (26 percent) from the charity stripe play a key role in his team's 41-39 loss to Niceville in the opening round of the Emerald Coast Classic. Two days later at the same venue Jackson saw his team knock off Crestview (Fla.) despite the fact it missed 24 free throws.
Grace is fearful poor free throw shooting will soon catch up with his club.
Forget 50 percent. Lambert has yet to see his team shoot even 45 percent from the free throw line in a game this season.
The numbers don't lie.
Of the four area high school squads, only the T.R. Miller boys are shooting better than 50 percent from the free throw line as a team