10th Annual Hardwood Heroes Celebrity Basketball Game Set To Hit SSU's Gym on April 7

The 10th Annual Hardwood Heroes Celebrity Basketball Game on Saturday, April 7, will bring local notables from all walks of life to the Shawnee State University Rhodes Athletic Center to raise money for Scioto County Special Olympics.

The event is one of the two annual fundraisers for Scioto County Special Olympics, and all funds support local athletes in fulfilling their goals in athletic competition and physical fitness. The other fundraiser is the Walk-A-Thon, which occurs every September in Tracy Park and serves as a kickoff to the Scioto County Special Olympics athletic season. The athletic year includes the sports of basketball, bowling, golf, track and field, and volleyball.

“Special Olympics is one of the most visible and recognizable non-profits out there and we are happy to be a part of that,” said SCDD Superintendent Matt Purcell, who is playing on the celebrity team this year. “Our local Special Olympics program has had positive effects not only on the athletes but on the community at large.”

At the core of the event are the Olympians. They include members of both the Vern Riffe School Cardinals and the Shooting Stars basketball teams, who will combine under Coach Rita Arthur to play against the celebrity team. The Cardinals are school-age athletes, while the Shooting Stars are adults. Both teams play competitive basketball throughout southern Ohio.

In addition to the game itself, there are T-shirt sales, split-the-pot, concessions, a half-time foul shot contest for kids, raffles, and a short performance by local band Social InTents. There will also be a provider fair on the mezzanine level that showcases area agencies that offer services to people with disabilities and more information about SCDD.

Locals playing on the celebrity team include:

- Mike Bell, Autism Project of Southern Ohio

- Kristen Bradshaw, Portsmouth High School teacher/softball coach

- Tyler Clifford, Bailiff in Scioto County Domestic Relations Court

- Hope Comer, Publisher of the Portsmouth Daily Times/Community Common

- Dirk Cunningham, RCW Entertainment

- Erin Daniels, record-smashing Minford High School basketball player

- Bryan Davis, Scioto County Commissioner

- Noah Fannin, Portsmouth High School teacher/soccer coach

- Sean King, 98.3 WPAY Country Superstars

- Jeff Kleha, Attorney and SCDD board member

- Matt Purcell, SCDD Superintendent

- Mark Richards, Portsmouth Daily Times

- Bill Runyon, RCW Entertainment

- Ryan Salmons, State Farm Insurance

- Captain Dan Simco, Portsmouth Salvation Army

- Josh Stewart, musician

“Hardwood Heroes is a fundraiser, yes, but it is also an incredible community event that truly uplifts and spreads awareness of developmental disabilities and Special Olympics,” said Scioto County Developmental Disabilities Community Relations Coordinator Lori McNelly. “Last year, we had about 400 people come to this family friendly event, many of whom have never before had interactions with people with disabilities. People leave the event knowing they have been a part of something wonderful in our community.”

Tickets are $2 each at the door, and the fun starts at noon. The event is sponsored by Scioto County Developmental Disabilities.

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Hardwood Heroes poster
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