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Fort Lee Basketball Courts 'Like Being At Madison Square Garden'

Players in the 7th/8th grade division vie for the ball this season.
Players in the 7th/8th grade division vie for the ball this season. Photo Credit: Courtesy Michael Klein
Players on two 3rd/4th grade teams compete for a win this season.
Players on two 3rd/4th grade teams compete for a win this season. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Michael Klein
A player in the 5th/6th grade division tries to make a shot this season, as she's closely guarded.
A player in the 5th/6th grade division tries to make a shot this season, as she's closely guarded. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Michael Klein

FORT LEE, N.J. – "Championship Saturday" is returning to Fort Lee this Saturday, and locals are welcomed to come feel the noise and cheer on the girls basketball teams.

Michael Klein, commissioner of the Fort Lee Girls Basketball League remarked on the community nature – and the volume – of the event.

When you're in that gym, the entire community of Fort Lee comes and roots for their kids: it's like being at Madison Square Garden, it's that loud. I love it.

The championship one of Fort Lee's most exciting events, Mayor Mark Sololich said. "I encourage everyone to attend and witness how youth sports is thriving in the Borough of Fort Lee as a result of the dedication and hard work of folks that care."

The Lewis F. Cole Middle School gym will host three championship games.

Here are the event's logistics:

  • 3rd/4th grade game starts at 11 a.m.
  • trophy ceremonies around 11:45 a.m. – Sokolich will be there to toss up the opening tip
  • 5th/6th grade game around 12:30 p.m.
  • trophy ceremonies approximately 1:30 p.m.
  • 7th/8th grade game about 2:15 p.m.
  • trophy ceremonies approximately 3:15 p.m – including presentation of plaques to retiring coaches and community service awards

The community service awards are presented to students who have completed at least 50 hours of community service.

"Our students usually complete over 100 hours," Klein said, "as they are committed for the entire season."

Briana Lopez, who is again fighting leukemia, also plays in the league. Klein said she will also be playing in the championship since her team won its semifinal on Wednesday.

"She's a true inspiration to all 281 girls who play basketball."

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Klein added that he anticipates nearly 800 people will be walking through the gym over the course of the championships.

"Thanks to the administrators, coaches, volunteers and, of course, our young athletes, Fort Lee girl's basketball has once again had an incredible season," Sokolich added.

"Great job to all, see you on Saturday and thank you for making our community a very special place to live and raise our families."

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