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High School Boys Basketball:
Rancocas Valley Prevails Over Cherokee

Saturday, February 6, 1999

By Greg Alvord
SJSports Special Correspondent

In a packed gymnasium in Evesham, the young Cherokee Chiefs gave defending Group 4 State Champions, the Rancocas Valley Red Devils, all they could handle. In the end, the experienced Red Devils prevailed in an exciting Saturday afternoon matinee, 63-55.

The game began with a new look Rancocas Valley starting line up, with starter Tim Ferguson, sitting with a bruised noggin and concussion. The Red Devils started slow with Dan Trump and Dan McArthur. Ron Powell, formerly Rancocas Valley's coach now leading Cherokee's squad, used hustling defensive effort and opportunistic fast breaks to take a 13-7 first quarter lead.

The man to man defensive pressure continued for both clubs as the second quarter saw them match basket for basket. The Red Devils used their quick ball movement perimeter game while the Chiefs went inside to use their low post attack. The Red Devils' Jeremy Joseph led the attack, smoothly hitting 4 long range 3 pointers. The Chiefs were paced by a dominating first half performance by #42, Ryan Hewitt. Hewitt was all over the floor, pumping in 12 points and snaring 5 boards. The half ended with the pumped up Chiefs giving the "Defending Champs" all they could handle and more, with the score Chiefs 26, Rancocas Valley 23.

As the third quarter opened, the dominating Cherokee squad was thinking upset of monstrous proportions. The 13-2 Rancocas Valley team had other plans. Using the energy of an inspirational halftime talk, the Red Devils went on to show why they are one of the premier teams in the state. The Red Devils took the lead for the first time mid-way through the third on a crowd-pleasing, rim-jarring slam by Jay McCollum. This was quickly followed by a rare 4-point play by Joseph. The big MO (momentum) was now on Rancocas Valley's side. Number 43, Brian Erhart, kept Cherokee close with 5 boards and 6 points in the quarter. As the quarter ended, it saw Rancocas Valley pump in 26 points to take a 49-38 lead that they wouldn't relinquish.

The fourth quarter had the battling Chiefs going tooth and nail with the powerful Red Devils. With Ken Greb pacing the scoring and Dan McArthur hitting the boards for Rancocas Valley, the Chiefs' game effort fell shy. The hustling guard play of Mike Scanzano and new man, Kyle Cuneo, led the Chiefs almost to an upset. This highly entertaining game ended 63-55 in Racocas Valley's favor.

Scoring Summary:

Chiefs- Cusick 3, Scanzano 12, Williams 1, Hewitt 20, Erhart 7, Zuno 1, Cuneo 11.

Red Devils- Greb 14, McCollum 6, VanKline 11, Joseph 16, Trump 9, McArthur 7.

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