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High School Basketball:
Cherokee Takes a Defensive Stand to Advance

Monday, February 26, 2007

By Joyce Sagerty
SJSports Special Correspondent

There's something to say about playoff basketball in how the level of competitiveness on the court creates an excitement enjoyable for all fans in attendance. The Cherokee Chiefs were hosting the Lady Indians from Pennsauken during the first round of the South Jersey Group IV girls' basketball tournament. What appeared during the early moments of this game as if the Lady Chiefs would have an easy time against the fifteen seeded Indians, Pennsauken just would not give up and worked their way back into this game at the end of the first quarter. But as this game when on, the second seeded Chiefs' defense set the tone for the rest of this game. Cherokee held their opponent to nine points through the second and third quarters and cruised to a 71-41 victory.

It's a sentence heard throughout all sporting events…offense wins games and defense wins championships. Pennsauken found themselves down early, 5-1 in this game and trailed by as many as eight points. Elise Graham’s three pointer got the Indians closer on the scoreboard and forced the Chiefs to pay closer attention to their offense. Leading by only three points to start the second quarter, the Chiefs applied a full court press that eventually was the key to this game. Cherokee's defense led to a 35-22 lead at the break and continued their momentum through the second half. Laura Sweeney led all scorers with 25 points while Maura Gillespie added 13 points helping Cherokee advance to the next round of the playoffs. Elise Graham’s 18 points led Pennsauken in scoring and Lauren Creel added 11 points.

Photos by Art Redd

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