East Cougars suffer defeat to Eastside Paterson Ghosts at the state championship

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The boys basketball team finished off their season on Sunday, March 15 at the Rutgers Athletic Center in New Brunswick at the Group IV State Championship against the Eastside Paterson Ghosts. East ultimately fell short 50-34, but the large deficit does not reflect the Cougar’s intense and tenacious play throughout the season.

Eastside won the opening tip and scored the first 10 points of the game. Unfortunately, the Cougars gave up too many easy baskets. Their sloppy play and multiple turnovers in the opening minutes helped their opponent make a run. To settle the crowd, Jake Silpe (’15) scored the first points for East when he drained a three, making the score 10-3 in favor of Eastside at the end of the first quarter.

To open the second quarter, Pierce Elliot (’16) quickly put three more points on the boards for East to lower the East deficit to four points. After a two point answer from the Ghosts, Silpe hit another three from outside the arc. The rest of the quarter went downhill as Eastside made another run, including some slam dunks. Poor rebounding ultimately hurt the Cougars. At the end of the half Eastside had out-rebounded East 20-9 and led the score 24-12.

The Cougars seemed to have gained some energy coming out the half scoring five unanswered points. Quickly, the dominant Ghosts came back to score five of their own. Back and forth the scoring went, but Paterson maintained a substantial lead over East finishing the 3rd quarter up by 11 points.

Coach Dave Allen talked to his team at the break and the Cougars played with heart to begin the fourth with a five points scored collectively by Jake Silpe, Josh Brown (’15) and Tim Perry (’16). Another starter, Olin Mclendon (’16) scored two more points adding to his two in the first half. As the clock started to run out, the fouling began, and luckily for the Cougars, Paterson was not doing too well at the line.

At a point in the fourth quarter the game looked like it might have been in East’s reach, but there just was not enough time to come back from the early large deficit. With just a minute and forty-one seconds left on the clock, lead scorer, Jake Silpe, fouled out of his last game in his East career. Silpe led his team by scoring 18 points and only missing two baskets. When the final horn sounded, East fell short to a stronger Paterson Eastside squad by a score of 50-34.

Although the last buzzer ended the season for the East Cougars, they made history for East and all of Cherry Hill. A phenomenal season ended with a remarkable 26 wins and great performances from the seniors. This record breaking run will not be forgotten as East went to a state final for the first time in the school’s history. Despite the loss, the 2014-15 Cougars should walk away from this season with a feeling of accomplishment and success.