BASKING RIDGE, NJ - Senior Night is always a special occasion for a varsity athletic program, but this year, Senior Night for the Ridge girls basketball team on Tuesday, Feb. 6 will carry an even more poignant meaning.
All fans attending the game against Phillipsburg that night are encouraged to wear purple and to bring "We Love You Katie" posters in support of fourth-grader Katie King, a Basking Ridge 10-year-old fighting Ewing Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. King, an avid basketball, soccer and lacrosse player before becoming ill last summer, and an enthusiastic follower of Ridge High School sports, has been named an honorary captain of this year's girls basketball team.
There will be snacks and homemade cookies, and donations will be accepted for the Katie King Foundation.
Ridge senior basketball players Sam Weyrauch, Katie Arrigan, Kristin Miscia, Juliana Spitzner and Michele Modugno have helped organize this year's Senior Night, which is Ridge's last scheduled regular-season home game (not counting possible county and state tournament dates). A photographer will also be on hand.
"We all know Katie. She was a camper over the summer," said Ridge senior co-captain Sam Weyrauch, who helped counsel Katie last summer in basketball camp before she was diagnosed. "Just seeing her go through this rough time, we all want to include her in any way we could. It makes the night even more special for us. We all love Katie."
Because Katie won't be able to attend the game, Weyrauch said, "We're telling everyone to wear purple. That's her color. And to bring signs. Some of the moms will videotape the ceremony to bring to her in the hospital. And we also will be wearing warmup shirts that have Katie's name on them."
Although the game tips off at 7 p.m., pre-game ceremonies will begin at 6:45, so the Ridge girls basketball team is encouraging all fans to arrive early.
Donations also can be made to The Katie King Foundation, P.O. Box 413, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920.