Fort Lee Girls Recreation Basketball League's First All-Star Game a Success

Fort Lee Girls Recreation Basketball League hosts their first All-Star game at Lewis F. Cole Middle School.

It was Team Orange vs. Team Black as the Fort Lee Girls Recreation Basketball League held its first All-Star Game in all three divisions Monday evening at the Lewis F. Cole Middle School. Athletes in each division were drafted by their Rec league coaches to put them on either Team Orange or Team Black.

Team Black coaches for the third and fourth grade were Shawn Arnone, Howard Pearl, and David Sarnoff. Team Orange coaches were David Samson, Kevin McKelvy, and Danny Ojeda.

League President Mike Klein announced the introduction of players before the tip-off brought enthusiasm and excitement to the packed house.

Team Orange jumped out to a 4–1 lead with Priscilla Samson scoring the first 2 baskets. Frankie Arnone got Black on the scoreboard by sinking two free throws. Mary Grace Sicheri scored 6 points in the second half to cap off a Team Black comeback and gain a victory of a final score of 10–7.

“It was great to see the high level of play with these young girls, most who have never played basketball before, not to mention, the 24 ear-to-ear smiles running up and down the court!” Klein said.

The second game of the event gave the fifth and sixth grade All-Stars a chance to show off their skills.

“It was impressive to see such a good defensive game," said Klein.

Team Black was coached by Rey “Drive By” Diaz and Bruno Esposito. Team Orange was coached by Ralph Diaz and Gerry Glass. Team Orange took a big lead in the third quarter when Kailyn Fernandez scored all five of her points. Once Team Black was able to full-court press, good defensive efforts were made by Natalie Elmers, Samantha Silver, Chloe Diaz, and Lily Schulman who created turnovers and passed the ball to Athena Sinisi and Sofia Esposito for back-to-back baskets with under a minute to go in the game. Orange hung onto a 12–7 victory.  

In the Marquee matchup of the evening, the seventh and eighth grade girls were pumped right from the player introductions. Team Black was coached by Billy Broderick, Frank McKenna, and Greg Yee. Mario Mattessich, Emma Diaz, and Eddie Aversa coached Team Orange. Kami Mattessich started out the game by hitting a three-point shot in favor of Team Orange. Nicole Maldonado and Jamie Rosa, both of Team Black, counteracted with back-to-back baskets with the assist coming from Jackie McKenna. Kami Mattessich retaliated with another three-pointer and a basket by Leslie Pimentel brought the score to 8–4 in favor of Orange in the first quarter.

The excitement continued with Team Black mounting a comeback to take a 15–10 halftime lead. In the second half, Team Black stepped up the defense behind Sarah Diaz, Gianna Nitti, Tomma DiMeglio, and Nicole Gaito. Faith Diaz kept Orange in the game with five fourth quarter points. Final score: Team Black 26, Team Orange: 22.

Klein commented, “In my opinion, all 24 girls that I watched play tonight at this level, have excellent chances at playing in high school. The highlight of the evening was the group hug of all 24 girls at the end of the game. There were no losers, only winners and friends.”

Tracy February 28, 2013 at 01:09 PM
GREAT article! Congrats to all the girls!
Shawn Arnone February 28, 2013 at 03:56 PM
Special thanks must go to Mike Klein and Ralph Dimeglio for organizing this event! Their tireless dedication to this league and making it special is very admirable and appreciated! As for the all-star players, seeing the camaraderie, sportsmanship and determination of these young ladies was something very special. Also, the support from their teammates who were not participating in the game as well as the family and friends who filled the gym to cheer them on was amazing. Having the privilege to be part of it as a coach was an honor and I thank each player for letting me be part of it. Fort Lee should be very proud and confident that our future will someday be in the hands of these young ladies.
DAVID SAMSON March 01, 2013 at 04:30 PM
Michael Klien there are not enough words to express how great of a person you are .I played and coached in lots and lots of leagues and by far the girls basket ball league that you put together is second to none. Then what you did with the all star game with the 3 age groups was like the cherry on top of a sunday! OH MY GOD what a turn out you packed the HOUSE Mike before the game started i had to pick my starting 5 and when i said the names one girl said i start on my team and then another girl said i start on my team then i said Girls i can only play 5 and girls you are all all stars thats why you are hear tonight and michael every girl that walks on that BASKET BALL court is an ALL STAR TO ME, seeing their expressions on their faces durring the season is PRICE LESS and as a father and a coach THANK YOU
Danny Gaito March 01, 2013 at 05:59 PM
Great job u do Pres Klein for FLGB . Great game on all 3 levels and lets get ready for the playoffs


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