East fails to defeat West in boys basketball game

Elissa Cohen, Eastside Sports Editor

With the final score reading 47-44 in favor of West, the Cougars failed to defeat their cross-town rivals, Cherry Hill West in a tenacious game on Saturday, February 13 in East’s Invitational.

A slow start from East’s offense reflected the game’s outcome. On a breakaway layup, West scored the first two points of the game. After a few more minutes of play and no change in the score, Joey Diantonio (‘17) hit a three-pointer to get East on the boards. A quick West turnover and two points from Tim Perry (‘16) brought East ahead 5-2. East continued their run as point guard, Evan Campbell (‘17), put up another two for the Cougars. To end the first quarter West hit a three-pointer to lessen their deficit, East was up 7-5.   

The Lions once again were the first to score at the beginning of the second quarter. Perry and Olin Mclendon (‘16) each had two to increase East’s lead to 11-7. It all went downhill from there as West went on a 7-1 run. Late in the half, Cougars’ upperclassmen Mclendon and Perry showed their presence as they each scored a couple more points for East, although, at the half East still trailed 18-16.

Out of the break, both teams showed that they were hungry to win in this rivalry game. Two quick points from the Lions and two more as an answer from East, the Lions were still ahead 20-18. Back and forth again with five more points for each of Cherry Hill’s teams, the score increased to 25-23 with West still ahead. With momentum from their recent three-pointer, the Lions went on a 7-0 run to increase their lead to 32-23. Diantonio was there to answer with a three and then Perry went to the line where he made one of two. The third quarter finally ended with West up 33-27.

To prove how badly he wanted this win in his senior year, Perry opened the fourth quarter with a dominating dunk. West answered with five more points as the score read 38-29 with under four minutes remaining. Mclendon was clutch at the line scoring 2 of 2, but the Cougars could not seem to catch a break as the Lions answered with three more. Campbell woke up with a layup and then another point as he was sent to the line in the next possession.

With less than two minutes remaining, Mclendon scored five points by himself to lower the deficit to only three points. Mclendon gains another two points after the rivals each went 1-for-2 at the line. Fouls were being exchanged by both teams as the clock winded down. Mclendon showed his seniority as he made both shots at the line with six seconds remaining and tied the game 44-44. At this point, the Countrymen were just hoping for some overtime action. Unfortunately, West player, Cameron Edwards, nailed a buzzer-beater three to win the game for the Lions.

A tough-fought game by the Cougars ultimately resulted in a loss to rival Cherry Hill West who proved to be the better team as the clock ran out and the final buzzer sounded.