CRANFORD, NJ - Cranford High School students raised more than $1,000 for the American Cancer Society during Wednesday night’s “Hoops for Hope” fundraiser, organized by students Caroline Kelly and Matthew Fonseca.

The purpose of the tournament was to raise money for cancer research, co-founder Kelly said in a brief speech to kick off the tournament. With a history of cancer in her family, there was a strong personal motivation behind this event.

“I decided to start Hoops for Hope because raising money for cancer has become a huge priority to me,” Kelly says. “Both of my parents are cancer survivors and I want to contribute in every way that I can to finding a cure so that no other families will have to go through what my family did. Matt and I decided to combine our love for basketball with our desire to combat cancer.”

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Using both the upper and lower gyms, 32 teams of three squared off on half court playing areas. Each game lasted for seven minutes with no pauses or time outs. Every basket was worth one point regardless of the distance from which it was shot, and every foul resulted in a point being awarded to the opposing team. If the foul occurred while shooting and the shot was good, an additional point was awarded.

For the bracket, Fonseca and Kelly organized opponents according to skill level. The competition was open to girls and boys ranging from freshmen to seniors. Students from other high schools also competed in the tournament, though the majority of non-CHS teams were freshmen from Saint Joseph High School.

Both Fonseca and Kelly agree that they want to continue the fundraiser and create a legacy and shared value of fighting cancer.

“We hope that the fundraiser will become an annual event and grades below us will continue our fight against cancer,” Kelly said.

There are ideas circulating about another tournament this spring.

The winners of the tournament, and recipients of twenty five dollar amazon gift cards as well as a trophy, were seniors Colin Budries, Jeremy Hunt, and Brian Waldner.

On behalf of his team, Budries said it was “great to support the cause,” and they would return to defend their title in a spring competition.

Emma-Rose Bacall is a student at Cranford High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Cranford.