Cherry Hill East Boys Basketball suffers a 42-33 loss to Cherokee

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Courtesy of Drew Greene

Drew Greene (’22) prepares to shoot during the last quarter of the game.

The East Cougars suffered their third loss of the season at the hands of the Cherokee Chiefs on Saturday, January 11th. The Cougars were led by Ryan Greene (‘20) and E.J. Matthews (‘22) who each scored a team-high of 8 points. Cherokee and East both sit at a record of 5-3 on the season.

East made 6 of 22 three-pointers in a shooting performance deviating from their usual percentages this season. Sophomores, Jake Green and Drew Greene, also finished the game with six and five points respectively. Ryan Bloom (‘21) also provided six points off the bench, but East could not bring home the win after a strong Cherokee showing.

The game was a chess match in the first quarter as each possession took over a minute and the coaches figured out each other’s schemes and adjustments. East ran a box-and-one on defense with Matthews guarding Cherokee’s leading scorer, Gavin Gibson (‘20), as the rest of the team played a zone defense. East’s defensive scheme held Gibson to a season-low three points. The Cougars and Chiefs went bucket-for-bucket and the first quarter ended with a tie at ten.

The next quarter began with a quicker pace as each team began to find their strides. Ryan Greene took a steal for an easy two in transition, but Cherokee responded with three straight scores in the paint by senior, Christian Armstrong, who finished with 17 points. East’s first foul didn’t occur until two minutes remained in the half, but disciplined defense did not lead to an outbreak of scoring for the Cougars. Drew Greene beat the buzzer for a three-pointer to cut the Cherokee lead down to 22-17 heading into halftime.

The second half saw a sloppy start as the score remained the same with five minutes remaining. Matthews scored five points including an open three to get the Cougars going and Bloom beat the buzzer as East brought the game closer, Chiefs leading 29-28.

Cherokee expanded their lead in the fourth quarter, but a Ryan Greene three stopped the bleeding as the Chiefs took a 35-31advantage with 3:54 remaining. However, the Chiefs took back control as senior, Alex Thomas, scored and and-one down low, hitting the free throw. Also, junior, Ethan Stith, did the same on the following possession. The Chiefs looked liked one of coach John Valore’s old East teams, possessing the ball and running the clock to finish out the contest.

East will try to end this losing skid with a game against 0-7 Woodrow Wilson on Tuesday the 14th. The Cougars play Cherokee again, at East, in a revenge game on February 11th.