CHESHIRE, Conn. – The CIAC will kick-off a weekend of basketball championships with the 2014 Boys and Girls State Basketball Championships Dedication at The Cabaret Theater at the Mohegan Sun on Saturday March 22.
The dedication ceremony on Saturday will begin the weekend of basketball at 9 a.m. by honoring six individuals who have made significant contributions to high school basketball in Connecticut. CIAC Director of Technology Services Matt Fischer will receive the 2014 CIAC Boys & Girls Basketball Dedication Award. In addition officials Arthur Hamm and Dean DeAngelis, coaches Tony Falzarano and Paulla Kolnaski Solar, and athletics directors Michael Pitruzzello and Chris Manfredonia will receive the 2014 Merit Awards. The ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. in The Cabaret Theater the Mohegan Sun Convention Center and is open to the public and the media.
- Dedication Award honoree Matt Fischer has been a critical part of the CIAC for nearly 20 years and has been a vital influence in establishing the organization as a technology leader among state associations. He’s been honored by numerous organizations throughout his time at the CIAC including recognition from the Connecticut Association of Athletic Directors (CAAD) and the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance.
- Official Dean DeAngelis has been a significant contributor to the sport in forty-four years as an official. His outstanding work has earned him the assignments for six CIAC basketball finals and has provided long service as a member of the IAABO Board #6 Training Committee for new officials.
- Fellow official Arthur Hamm has been a proud member of IAABO Board #7 since 1982 and served as Board President from 1995-to-1997. He was the 2008 Basketball Official of the Year, is also a long-time soccer official and was a charter member of the CIAC Sportsmanship Committee.
- Michael Pitruzzello has been a 40-year contributor to high school sports as an educator, coach, and administrator, making a profound impact throughout his career. He’s been a selfless collaborator with the CIAC as a site director and host while also serving on a variety of committees, and has been a valuable member of the Connecticut High School Coaches Association and CAAD.
- Chris Manfredonia has served as athletic director for some of the largest, most successful athletics programs in the state of Connecticut. He has committed significant time as a representative to the CAAD Board of Control and his generosity as a willing host for CIAC and FCIAC postseason events has been a boon to the organizations.
- Coach Paulla Kolnaski Solar has won more than 325 games during a lengthy career on the sidelines for Stonington High School. She guided her teams to a pair of CIAC titles and her body of work earned her a spot in the Connecticut Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame while also working as a teacher for 35 years.
- Coach Tony Falzarano reached rarified air this season, becoming only the third boys basketball coach in Connecticut history to surpass 600 career victories. His career, which included a CIAC championship, earned him induction into the CHSCA Hall of Fame and the New England Coaching Hall of Fames. He was also two-time CHSCA Senior All-Star Game coach and long-time CIAC basketball committee member.
The dedication ceremony will begin a weekend of tournament titles as four boys and four girls basketball finals will be played at Mohegan Sun Arena Saturday and Sunday. The eight games will be played in three sessions beginning Saturday morning with the session and game schedule as follows:
Session 1, Saturday March 22
Game 1: 10 a.m.
Game 2: 12:30 p.m.
Game 3: 3 p.m.
Session 2, Saturday March 22
Game 1: 6:15 p.m.
Game 2: 8:15 p.m.
Session 3, Sunday March 23
Game 1: 12:30 p.m.
Game 2: 3 p.m.
Game 3: 5:30 p.m.
The announcement for which championship game will be played at each time slot will be announced following the conclusion of the semifinal rounds. Separate tickets will be sold for each session, with one ticket good for each of the games in that session. Presale tickets will be available on-line when available.