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Third annual Todd Kalivoda Holiday Showcase is set in Toronto – The Steubenville Herald-Star

TORONTO — Todd Kalivoda left his mark in the Gem City.

Kalivoda was a big fan of all the sports team at Toronto, and he also served as a coach for the Red Knights.

Kalivoda, who died Nov. 19, 2017 in Las Vegas, will once again be honored this week at the 3rd Annual Todd Kalivoda Holiday Showcase to take place Tuesday through Thursday inside the George J. Kunzler Memorial Gymnasium

The event was established to be the main fundraiser for the boys’ basketball program. The event not only benefits the boys’ basketball program, but it also benefits the students of Toronto High School through the Todd Kalivoda Memorial Scholarship. Portions of the proceeds from the event help support the scholarship dedicated to Kalivoda. Kalivoda’s wife Carolynn, who lives in Las Vegas, and local family members are big supporters of the event.

“The reaction has surpassed our expectations so far, and that is due to all the hard work we have put into it,” Toronto boys’ head coach Sean Tucker said. “We have gotten feedback from a lot of teams about possibly doing some things that they would like to see done differently. We have made those adjustments for the teams and for the fans.

“A lot of people have reached out to us. They are looking forward to the teams, the lineup and the changes.

“When we started this, we had two sponsors. Now, we have up to 30. It is continuing to grow, and we are very excited about that.”

There will be some changes to the schedule this year. 

“This year, we have 22 teams and 13 games,” Tucker said. “We have eliminated the 1 p.m. games. We had five games a day when we first started. It is tough having 1 p.m. games on weekdays because people have to work. When we started this, we hoped to continue it on the weekends. 

“The attendance was low for the weekday 1 p.m. game. It would pick up for the 3 p.m. game. This year, we decided to get rid of the 1 p.m. game. We want to have good crowds for the games.”

Five games will be played Tuesday with four games taking Wednesday and Thursday.

“We are very excited about the lineup for this year’s Showcase, and the feedback from the community and colleges say they are eager to come watch these teams,” Tucker said. 

For the first time in the event’s short history a girls’ game will take place as the Showcase kicks off with Indian Creek taking on Toronto at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday.

“Todd was a girls’ basketball coach at Toronto along with many other coaching duties at Toronto,” Tucker said. “He coached boys’ basketball and girls’ basketball. Carolynn, his wife, is in support of it. It is important to get her opinion. 

“We talked about the girls being included in this. We tossed it around the first year. The second year, we were coming off COVID, and we were dealing with a lot of things with that. We wanted to make sure we did it the right way. 

“This is something we work on year round. This is not something you can in a week. We have to plan this a year in advance. 

“In January, I talked to Rusty (Hodgkiss) about including the girls. It was important to get his input. We are doing this in honor of Todd.

“We are excited about having the girls in the Showcase. The girls are eager to take part in it. Rusty was able to get some sponsors for the girls’ game. 

“There are a lot of issues with logistics. We have to make sure we have the locker rooms. We have four locker rooms, and we have to get that situated.”

The Redskins have had plenty of success recently on the hardwood.

“With the girls, we want to try and bring in one of the better teams in the area to show how good girls’ basketball is in the Valley,” Tucker said. “Indian Creek is a team with a lot very good talent on it. That is something Coach Hodgkiss wants to do. He wants to play good teams. Playing good teams will make the program better and build the program up. We are very excited to have them in our lineup.”

Some of the boys’ teams have taken part in the event all three years.

“Each year is different,” Tucker said. “We have teams that want to come back. We pride ourselves in our hospitality and giving teams a good experience, so they will want to come back. 

“Marlington has been here every year. They are playing two games in the Showcase. John Marshall has made it one of their trips they take. John Marshall is playing two games in the Showcase. 

“A lot of teams want to take part in the tournament. That speaks to all of the hard work we put in to make this event a success.”

Tuesday’s slate of games also includes four boys’ games. 

“This year, people will not be disappointed with the lineup,” Tucker said. “We work extremely hard to get the best teams and to do what is best for the teams competition-wise and do what is best for the fans.

“There a lot of games that would be the premier games of the day. Tuesday, I think the John Marshall-Southern game is going to be very good. Then, you have got Buckeye Local and Marlington. Then, we end it with Meadowbrook and Wheeling Park.

“Wednesday’s lineup is phenomenal. We have Marlington playing John Marshall. Then, Patriot Prep is playing Strasburg. Both teams only have one loss. We have Madonna-Tusky Valley. Then, we will have a possible state-ranked battle between Canfield and River. Thursday, we have Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans playing Patriot Prep out of Columbus. Both are good teams. Then, we have Frontier playing Barnesville and Caldwell playing Wellsville. Caldwell has one of the top Division IV players in the state. Wellsville I think has six seniors who have been playing together since they were freshmen. We end the night with Martins Ferry taking on Toronto. Martins Ferry has a guy averaging a triple-double every game. 

“We try our best to get the best possible games. We want it to be a fun experience. We want to have the best lineups possible.”

The Toronto boys are scheduled to play East Palestine at 3 p.m. Tuesday before capping the event off by taking on Martins Ferry at 8 p.m. Thursday night.

“We take a lot of pride in this event and a ton of work goes into something like this to be successful every year, and we usually start working on the following year’s after this ends, so it’s definitely something we work on to make great,” Tucker said. 

Fans unable to attend the event in person can watch all the games online on the NFHS Network under Toronto Basketball.

“Last year, we had 2500 viewers due to COVID,” Tucker said. “They were unable to come to the games, so they just watched the games. We had to take a step back and look at that.

“We talked to teams who run events like this, and they charge people a fee to watch the games. You have to pay the broadcast company. We have to look at it financially. You lose money. When you have 2,500 viewers, that is a lot of money your are losing, and this is a fundraiser.

“People can go to the NFHS Network and look for Toronto basketball. They can purchase the games for a small fee, and they will be able to watch every game that day.”

The Red Knights will wear special uniforms against the Bulldogs.

“We are going to wear our military uniforms against East Palestine,” Tucker said. “We are going to honor the Army National Guard. We were going to wear them against Trinity Christian, but that game got canceled. We were devastated we were not going to get the chance to represent the army. I talked to Lance with the Amy National Guard, and due to a couple cancelations we will be able to wear the uniforms for our game against East Palestine on Tuesday. We are excited about that.”

The cost of tickets is $10 for adults and $6 for students. The tickets are good for the whole day. The gym will not be cleared after each game.

“I would like to thank the TCS Administration for their continued support of this event, especially Superintendent Maureen Taggart, Athletic Director Mark Ferrell, the Toronto basketball coaches and most important the Toronto basketball parents and Chuck Wharton and the staff at Total Sports Connection,” Tucker said. 

There will be basketball apparel and T-shirt sales for sale during the event.

There will also be a large concession stand for all three days.

“If you like basketball, you should free up your schedule next week to see 22 teams compete under one roof,” Tucker said.

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