More than 500 Special Olympians to converge on Bowling Green

More than 500 Special Olympics Ohio athletes are expected to participate in the 2014 Special Olympics Ohio State Basketball Tournament Team Finals and Individual Skills Contest Friday and Saturday, March 21 and 22, in Bowling Green. Venues are Bowling Green High School; Bowling Green State University’s Stroh Center and Perry Field House; and the Bowling Green Training and Community Center.

The State Basketball Tournament Team Finals feature 30 teams representing 24 Ohio counties: Ashland, Belmont, Clarke, Coshocton, Cuyahoga, Darke, Defiance, Delaware, Franklin, Geauga, Hamilton, Henry, Lorain, Lucas, Madison, Marion, Medina, Montgomery, Pike, Putnam, Richland, Stark, Summit, and Tuscarawas.

The Individual Skills Contest features almost 300 athletes representing 12 Ohio counties: Ashland, Ashtabula, Coshocton, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hancock, Lorain, Lucas, Pickaway, Stark, Van Wert, and Wood.

The State Basketball Tournament involves action in semi-final and final rounds in nine divisions. Those advancing to the final rounds compete for the State Championships. Consolation rounds determine third- and fourth-place status. The 30 teams competing in the State Tournament are from an original field of 149 teams from throughout the state and after advancing through North, East, South and West Section tournaments.

State semi-final games are Friday:

Men’s Division I – Marion County Marca Industries vs. Summit County Developmental Disabilities (DD), 4 p.m.; and Clarke County Special Olympics (SO) vs. Cuyahoga County DD, 6 p.m.

Men’s Division II – Lorain County Murray Ridge vs. Franklin County Columbus Schools (Black), 4 p.m.; and Montgomery County SO vs. Richland County SO, 6 p.m.

Men’s Division III – Hamilton County Special Olympics vs. Geauga County DD, 8 p.m.; and Coshocton County SO vs. Lucas County SO, 8 p.m.

Men’s Division IV – Pike County DD vs. Defiance County DD, 4 p.m.; and Tuscarawas County SO vs. Ashland County SO, 6 p.m.

Men’s Division V – Belmont County SO vs. Putnam County DD, 4 p.m.; and Lucas County SO vs. Madison County SO, 6 p.m.

School Age Division II – Lucas County Public vs. Stark County Public, 8 p.m.; and Darke County Special Olympics SO vs. Franklin County Northwest Superstars, 8 p.m.

Three championship games are also held Friday:

School Age Division I – Richland County SO vs. Delaware SO, 4 p.m.

Women’s Division I – Franklin County Columbus Schools (Gray) vs. Henry County SO, 6 p.m.

Women’s Division II – Hamilton County SO vs. Medina DD, 4 p.m.

Championship Games are Saturday:

Men’s Division I, 11 a.m. (Consolation 11 a.m.); Men’s Division II, 9 a.m. (9 a.m.); Men’s Division III, 1 p.m. (1 p.m.); Men’s Division IV, 11 a.m. (9 a.m.); Men’s Division V, 1 p.m. (1 p.m.); School Age Division II, 11 a.m. (9 a.m.)

The Individual Skills Contest, held Saturday starting at 9 a.m., involves individual competition in basketball-related skills, such as dribbling, passing and free throw shooting.

All Special Olympics Ohio events are free and open to the public.

Special Olympics Ohio provides year-round sports training and competition opportunities for adults and children with intellectual disabilities, giving them opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with their families, their peers and community. Special Olympics serves more than 23,000 athletes throughout the state.