PORTSMOUTH — March is developmental disabilities awareness month. On Wednesday, March 30 the Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) celebrated the conclusion of the month with a students vs staff basketball game. Members of Shawnee State University’s Men’s and Women’s basketball teams assisted by members of the SSU Women’s soccer team hosted the two teams as they headed off at the SSU Athletic Complex.
Teams were comprised of the Scioto County Special Olympics Vern Riffe School Cardinals and staff of SCDD who volunteered their athletic skills in an attempt to take down the undefeated Cardinals. Both teams were pumped to be on the court after a two year break due to the pandemic. The VRS Cardinals, coached by Rita Arthur, prevailed; crushing the staff team with a 55-point win.
“I am happy we won!” remarked George Jewell, one of the Cardinal’s leading scorers. Jewell continued, “The staff tried, but they couldn’t beat us.” George and his teammates took the season off last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, but have all expressed happiness to be back on the court putting their rivals to the test.
The Cardinal’s regular season ended in February, but they have continued to practice throughout the month of March in order to be prepared for this game. Their efforts paid off giving them a big win.
“Don’t let the fact that the Cardinals have disabilities fool you, our staff truly gave it our all, but the Cardinals determination and dedicated practice regimen really gave them the advantage,” stated Jessica Hoffer, SCDD’s Director of Outreach and team member on the staff team. The final score was 71-16
“The Cardinals have a lot of good athletes, it is great to have them back on the SSU court,” remarked SSU Athletic Director Jeff Hamilton while watching the game. Jeff didn’t hesitate to open up the gym to SCDD’s Scioto County Special Olympics.
In years past, the annual Hardwood Heroes Celebrity Basketball Game was held at SSU, however, due to COVID-19 the event hasn’t taken place since the spring of 2019.
“We plan to return to the SSU court next spring with a reboot of Hardwood Heroes,” exclaimed Theresa Rowland, Outreach Coordinator at SCDD. Rowland continued, “It will be the 10-year anniversary and it will be a huge public event for DD Awareness.”
SCDD would like to give a huge thanks to the players of the SSU Men’s and Women’s basketball teams and the Women’s soccer team who volunteered their time to help coach both teams and officiate the game in addition to cheering on the VRS Cardinals.
“They made the event a great experience with their knowledge, skills, and kindness they exhibited to our organization,” stated Hoffer.
SCDD also expresses thanks to Jeff Hamilton, SSU Athletic Director; DeWayne Burroughs, SSU Women’s Basketball Coach; and DeLano Thomas, SSU Men’s Basketball Coach.