East wins South Jersey Group 4 sectional title

A successful season is only remembered if the title is won and after a great season, third seed East clinched its back-to-back SJ Group 4 sectional title on March 9, 2015 after beating four seed Cherokee in thrilling fashion. East defeated the Cherokee Chiefs 48-39 in double overtime. East had trained all summer to be in the position to be section champs two years running and that hard work had come to fruition in the Dibart Gym.

The dynamic duo of East starters, Jake Silpe (’15) and Tim Perry (’16), were a force to be reckoned with all season. Behind these superstar athletes were Josh Brown (’15), Pierce Elliot (’16) and Olin Mclendon (’16) who made major contributions throughout the playoffs and regular season to get East to the finals.

This scene is all to familiar to Silpe and Perry. Last year both players were on the starting squad that played Cherokee for the sectional title in the 2014 season. That game resulted in East’s first sectional title win. As a junior, Silpe had a game high of 23 points and in 2015, as a senior, Silpe began to lead the team once more.

The first quarter tipped off into what became a battle of defenses. Cherokee held a meek 0-2 lead over East for the first three minutes of the game but everything turned around after 6’ 8” Tim Perry placed an easy lay up, tying the game up. Following Perry’s lay up, East quickly shut down Cherokees offense resulting in a 7-0 run coming from a three by Brown and a lay up from Silpe. The first quarter ended with East in the lead 9-4.

East went into the second quarter ready to build on the momentum. Silpe opened the quarter up as he ran to the basket and smoothly made a lay up for two. Cherokee responded to every basket made by East, but East began to pull away from the Chiefs. Elliot knocked one down from beyond the arc, then after a quick steal he got the full court pass and mades the lay up putting East up 24-12. East ended the first half of the game with 26-14 as Silpe had eight points and Mclendon had seven. Throughout the first half of the game Brown’s presence on defense kept Cherokees offense in check.

Cherokee inbounded the ball to start the third quarter but Brown immediately got a steal. The teamwork between Perry and Silpe was evident as Perry set a pick for Silpe setting him up to hit a jumper. The game turned around on East  just two minutes into the third. The tightness of Cherokee’s defense would not budge to East‘s offensive efforts. Cherokee’s shots from outside the arc began to fall and the inside game was like clock work. Cherokee went on a 7-0 run cutting down East’s lead to 29-22. Silpe ended Cherokee’s run as he maneuvered through the defense to make the basket. The third quarter ended with East on its heels from all the momentum with Cherokee. Cherokee trailed East 31-24.

Cherokee continued to pummel the paint and keep East away from the basket going into the fourth quarter. Cherokee mades five unanswered points bringing East’s lead to a measly two points. Silpe gets fouled beyond the arc and sent to the line with three crucial foul shots. In a situation where East could spring forward over Cherokee, Silpe made one of three. It was 34-33 East, with four minutes left. The game instantly became about possession. Cherokee got sent to the line and took the lead for the first time since the first quarter, 34-35 Cherokee. A missed shot rebounded by Cherokee and the lay up made put Cherokee up 34-37. Relying on D1 commit, Silpe made three to tie the game at 37-37. East gave Cherokee an easy layup making it 37-39 Cherokee with 16.9 seconds left. Silpe pulled up beyond the arc, hoping to end the game right there, and threw a three up. The miss was rebounded by Mclendon with a few seconds left and immediately put up making a buzzer beater lay up tying the game and sending East into overtime.

OT began and neither team could break away. The clock winded down and the game was in gridlock. OT ended 39-39 and East vs Cherokee went into double overtime.

Cherokee got the tip off but a travel was called on the team. East capitalized on the call as Silpe took on a defender one on one and beat him to the basket. After a Cherokee miss, Perry defined East’s lead to 43-39 by making a layup. Mclendon made a huge steal on defense and Brown was sent to the line. With less than thirty seconds in double OT, East led 48-39.

With less than ten seconds left, Silpe got subbed off and embraced Coach Dave Allen to close an emotional game. East will proudly remain the SJ Group 4 champs for yet another year.

To check out more photos, please visit Eastside’s Facebook Page.