Boys’ basketball crushes West in first round of playoffs

Max Cohen ('12)/ Eastside Editor-in-Chief

The second-seeded boys’ basketball team manhandled Cherry Hill West yesterday in the first round of the South Jersey Group IV playoffs, 76-48. The DiBart Gym was a stellar environment for the game, with a humongous section of Countrymen diagonal from West’s student section.

The game started off somewhat ominously for the Cougars. West hung in there to start off the game as they jumped out to a 7-4 lead. It seemed as though West had a chance in the game for a moment. Then, the Cougars came roaring back, going on a 17-0 run with all of the scoring coming from Marc Schlessel (’12) and Hank Davis (’13). Schlessel had 10 points in the quarter while Davis contributed nine. The Cougars led 21-7 at the end of the first quarter.
 
West scored the first points of the second quarter. Then, Jake Gurkin (’12) countered with two baskets of his own to drive the lead up to 16. However, West cut the lead to 10 by the end of the quarter as the Cougars went into the locker room with a 30-20 lead. Schlessel had 13 points at the half, followed by Davis and Gurkin, who scored nine and eight respectively.
 
After allowing West to score the basket to start the second half, the Cougars took control once again. Jesse Gold (’12) pulled up and drained a three and then Schlessel went in for another layup. Schlessel and Gurkin carried the scoring load for the Cougars for the remainder of the quarter as the Cougars held a 47-30 lead heading into the final quarter.
 
In the fourth quarter, the Cougars made a mockery of West. West continually forced poor shots and the Cougars continuously capitalized. The Cougars cruised to the 74-48 win as they advanced to the second round of the South Jersey Group IV tournament.
 
Player of the Game: This award can go to three players in this game. Davis drained three-pointers early on, giving the Cougars momentum throughout the game. Gurkin was a force on both ends, scoring 18 points and gathering in 16 rebounds. Ultimately, this recognition has to go to Schlessel. He scored 30 points on the game, consistently taking what the West defense was giving him, as he continuously took advantage of West’s weak interior defense.
 
Next up for the Cougars: Toms River North on Thursday at 4 p.m. The game will be held in the DiBart Gym.