With the Mirabito STOP-DWI Holiday Classic 17 days away, Broome County officials and local tournament participants gathered Tuesday at Binghamton High School to spread the word about the multi-faceted event.
Pre-tournament festivities begin Dec. 27, with the three-day, 20-game competition to run Dec. 28-30 at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
“It’s a tournament with two messages,” said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston. “We want you to have fun and compete, but we also want you to hear our message about drinking and driving.”
In addition to the eight-team National Division, there are two four-team Regional Divisions, for which championship games are scheduled to tip off at 5:30, 7:15 and 9 p.m. on Dec. 30.
New twists for the 22nd annual event include relocation of the 3-point and dunk contests on the eve of competition to the Arena from their traditional venue, Binghamton High School’s gymnasium.
“Because of the overwhelming attendance, we thought that being a Friday night that it would be a great time to move it to the Arena to give more people the opportunity to attend,” said Chris Marion, tournament director and Broome County STOP-DWI program coordinator.
Preceding the contests will be the inaugural Aldo Rossi Jr. Memorial game, in which members of local law enforcement agencies will compete against one another. Proceeds from that will go to the Crime Victims Assistance Center.
The tournament proper features, in the National Division, four opening-round games pitting a New York school against an out-of-state opponent.
Regional Division I groups Fayetteville-Manlius and New York Mills (Oneida County) with Southern Tier Athletic Conference Metro Division rivals Binghamton and Maine-Endwell.
To those Regional team members in attendance at Patriot Hall, Preston said, “At the end of the tournament we hope you are the ones hoisting the trophy, but we also hope you take home a very, very important message: Don’t drink and drive.”