Boys’ Varsity Basketball takes care of Lenape

In a game that was surprisingly not even close, the Cougars defeated Lenape 52-34. After appearing outmatched in their opening season loss to the Indians (50-37), the Cougars showed how much they’ve matured throughout the season in this huge victory to improve their record to 8-5.

The first quarter was a dogfight and it made it seem like this was going to be a typical difficult game against Lenape. The quarter ended tied at 11 with Chris Santo (’11) scoring 8 of East’s points. Marc Schlessel (’12) provided the other three points for East.

The Cougars played shut-down defense in the second quarter, allowing only five points the whole quarter. After a Jake Gurkin (’12) layup with seconds remaining in the half, it appeared as though East would enter the half in a close contest, leading by a score of 20-16 until Lenape inbounded the ball and an East player deflected it off a Lenape player so the Cougars would have possession with three seconds left in the quarter. This was just enough time for Seth Friedman (’10) to work some magic. After the inbound pass from half-court, Friedman took two dribbles so that he was a couple of feet beyond the three point line and launched a three that found its way into the basket to give the Cougars the 7 point half-time lead, 23-16.

At the half, Santo had 10 points and four rebounds and Friedman scored 5 points to go along with his 5 assists.

After Friedman’s miraculous shot, East never stopped charging forward. In fact the Cougars were so dominating in the third quarter that Lenape coach Chuck Guittar took out all of his starters to put in the reserves for over a quarter. This accomplished absolutely nothing basketball-wise and the Cougars led 35-21 at the end of the third.

The Cougars continued their strong effort on both sides of the ball in the fourth. As Lenape started to try to gain some momentum in the fourth, Schlessel nailed a three, pushing the lead to 17 with 5:40 left and effectively putting the game away.

Players of the Game: Santo and Friedman. Although this was not one of his most high scoring games, in a tough defensive battle Santo was able to score at will on the inside and kept the Cougars in the game when neither team took charge in the first quarter. Friedman gets the nod here for his timely three at the end of the first half. In a defensive battle, as this game looked as if it would be during the first half, a seven point lead is a significant margin. His three in the waning seconds of the half gave the team momentum that carried into the locker room and into the second half.