CHESHIRE, Conn. â€“ The CIAC will kick-off a weekend of basketball championships culminating the “Run to the Sun” with the 2016 Boys and Girls State Basketball Championships Dedication at The Cabaret Theater at the Mohegan Sun on Saturday March 19.
The dedication ceremony on Saturday will begin the weekend of basketball at 9 a.m. by honoring eight entities which have made significant contributions to high school basketball in Connecticut. The administrators and staff from Mohegan Sun has been chosen for the 2016 CIAC Boys & Girls Basketball Dedication Award. In addition officials Hy Ruwet and Peter Gerardi, coaches Lisa Hodges and Walter Camp, and administrators John Kuczo, Trish Witkin and Steve Baldwin will receive the 2016 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.
- The dedicated team of staffers and management at The Mohegan Sun is being honored with the Boys & Girls Basketball Dedication Award for its exceptional efforts in hosting the CIAC Boys and Girls Basketball Championships beginning in 2009. The commitment and incredible support of the Mohegan Sun Team throughout the organization has helped grow the basketball championships into a highlight of the Connecticut scholastic calendar attracting more than 125,000 fans to the finals and providing an exceptional experience for student-athletes and fans.
- Official Hy Ruwet has worked as certified IAABO official since 1973 and has officiated in the CIAC tournament for more than four decades. He has served both IAABO Board #7 (Litchfield) and #9 (Fairfield) and has been the President of the Connecticut IAABO Board and continues to serve as Board #7 Assistant Interpreter.
- Fellow official Peter Gerardi began his career as a member of the Eastern IAABO Board #8 since 1991 and has held a number of leadership positions with the Board. He was awarded the Edward Ferrigno Distinguish Service Award, officiated a pair of CIAC tournament semifinals, and was named as the inaugural assignment for IAABO Board #35.
- Lisa Hodges took over the Kolbe Cathedral girls basketball program in 2003 and it has been one of the top programs in the state during her tenure. She led the team to five state championships during that time, and a total of six finals appearances since 2004. She has put together a stellar record of xx during her career at Kolbe Cathedral.
- Wally Camp is one of 13 Connecticut high school basketball coaches to pile up more than 500 victories in his career as he led Durham (now Coginchaug) High School to 508 wins during his career. He directed the team to one CIAC Championship, 11 Shoreline League titles, and earned numerous awards including a Gold Key from the Connecticut Sportswriters Alliance.
- John Kuczo has been involved in high school athletics for more than fifty years and has made an indelible impact as the Executive Secretary and later the Secretary Treasure of the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference (FCIAC) since 1978. He has contributed to high school sports as a coach, athletic director and League administrator and has been recognized with numerous honors throughout his career.
- Trish Witkin has been a valuable and committed contributor to the CIAC and high school athletics in her role as Director of Athletics at Glastonbury High School. She has served a leadership role with the Connecticut Association of Athletics Directors and was also selected as the President of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association while leading one of the largest and most successful athletics programs in Connecticut.
- Since 2000 Steve Baldwin has been a dedicated athletics administrator for 15 years at Wilby High School and now at Brookfield High School. He has volunteered his time to CIAC tournaments as a host and site director for numerous contests at Wilby and Memorial Park in Waterbury and was also a leader and innovator in helping to grow Unified Sports programs at his schools.
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 19
Game 1: 10 a.m.
Game 2: 12:30 p.m.
Game 3: 3 p.m.
Session 2, Saturday March 19
Game 1: 6:15 p.m.
Game 2: 8:15 p.m.
Session 3, Sunday March 20
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 are available online for fans who know they want to attend specific sessions: http://ciacsports.com/site/?p=3337 but fans of specific teams may want to wait to purchase online tickets until the game schedule is finalized as ticket sales will be for specific sessions.
The championship weekend also provides a showcase for Unified Sports basketball as a Unified game is scheduled to take place at halftime of four of the championship games. The two afternoon games on both Saturday and Sunday will feature Unified Sports teams competing on the Mohegan Sun court during halftime.