Cougars overcome early deficit to defeat West

Jake Green (22) playing for the Cherry Hill East basketball team

Lucas Tang ('23)

Jake Green (’22) playing for the Cherry Hill East basketball team

When Cherry Hill East head coach Dave Allen called a timeout early in the 1st quarter, his team was down 10-3. The Cougars were not locked in and were playing too “emotional” rather than their normal brand of basketball. After this timeout, the Cougars were rejuvenated with a new sense of energy that led them for the rest of the game.
“Whenever we play Cherry Hill West, they are going to give us their best,” Allen said. “Former UCLA coach John Wooden spoke about Competitive Greatness. Competitive Greatness is defined as ‘Be your best when your best is needed.’ After the first quarter, our best was needed, and we were at our absolute best.”
The Cougars (24-1) went on to defeat cross-town rival Cherry Hill West (11-14) on the road by a score of 55-29 on Tuesday afternoon. The Cougars have not won at West since the 2017-2018 season and were determined to end this streak.
“It is always hard to go to West late in the season and beat them at their place,” senior guard Drew Greene said. “Since we have such a good record, everyone wants to beat us, especially them.
By the end of the first quarter, the Cougars still trailed 12-6. However, they outscored the Lions 16-2 in the 2nd quarter due to clutch shooting and forcing steals on the defensive end.
The second half was much of the same. The Cougars were more patient on offense and were able to get great shots instead of good shots. Additionally, East racked up more steals which gave them easy baskets in transition. This allowed them to maintain their lead and not let up at all.
Ej-Matthews-Spratley (‘22) led the Cougars with a game-high 19 points. Greene also played a huge factor with nine points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, and four steals.
The Cougars will wrap up the regular season on Thursday vs Cherokee at home at 7:00. Then, East is set to battle Toms River North on Monday in the first round of the NJSIAA playoffs. The Cougars have proven that no matter the opponent, they can win any game and they will look to continue with that mindset throughout the playoffs.