Basketball finals returning to Mohegan Sun

Mohegan Sun Arena will serve as the site for the championship games of the 2014 boys and girls state basketball tournament, with the finals taking place March 22-23.

This will be the sixth season that the 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena will serve as the site for the championship games in the eight CIAC basketball divisions (four boys and four girls), and the first in which the finals will take place on Saturday and Sunday. There will be five games held with two ticketing sessions on Saturday and one session of three games on Sunday beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The precise schedule for the finals will not be determined until the participants are finalized.

“The relationship between the CIAC and Mohegan Sun has been a wonderful partnership over the past five years, and we are excited to continue the tradition and offer an outstanding championship experience for our students, parents and fans,” stated CAS-CIAC Executive Director Dr. Karissa Niehoff. “As evident from the last five seasons, Mohegan Sun provides a unique event destination and atmosphere for the basketball finals and we believe there is great benefit for both parties to continuing this relationship.”

The CIAC has historically not pre-scheduled championship games on Sundays, though it has permitted rescheduled championship events on Sundays. However the desire to continue to work with Mohegan Sun as the championship venue – which expressed a preference to leave Friday available to schedule other entertainment events – prompted the change to Saturday and Sunday with the approval of the CIAC Board of Control.

“We are delighted to host the CIAC Boys and Girls Basketball Championships,” said Mitchell Etess, Chief Executive Officer for the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. “This event has turned into exactly what we would have hoped, a once in a lifetime opportunity for the student athletes, and one they work hard all season to achieve.”

More than 18,000 spectators attended the 2013 championship finals over the three sessions, with a high of nearly 9,000 for the final session. The average attendance during the five years of finals at Mohegan Sun has been between 17,000 and 18,000. Mohegan Sun Arena is one of the few venues in Connecticut able to handle that level of attendance, and that will be available for use at the time of the CIAC basketball finals.

The 2014 basketball tournaments brackets will be released on February 26 (girls) and March 5 (boys) and the semifinals to determine the participants in the finals at Mohegan will be played March 14 and 17 (girls) and March 18 and 19 (boys).