High School Boys Basketball:
Saturday, February 26, 2000
By Art Redd
It was a game with two of the best players in South Jersey. The Camden Panthers' junior sensation DaJuan Wagner going up against Cherry Hill East's senior Marcus Bullock. The Panthers are the seventh seed in the Group 3 playoffs while East are the sixth seed in the Group 4 playoffs. The Cougars made a statement Saturday afternoon as they upset Camden 66-63 at home in front of a jubilant home crowd.
The Panthers were the hot team with the extremely talented play maker Wagner who was featured in Sports Illustrated for his eighty-point performance this year. Arthur Barclay (senior) has been recognized as one of the most dominant centers in South Jersey. Stack that up against the high scoring, three-point shooting of East's Bullock, Matthew Minoff and Andy Schwartz and this had the makings of a very competitive basketball game.
Right at the start, the Cougars tried to establish their game plan early by launching the three ball to gain the early lead. That game plan didn't work, as they went 2 for 14 in the first quarter from the three point arch. But to their surprise, they were only down nine points at the end of the initial quarter. That didn't stop Cherry Hill from deviating from their game plan. East continued to launch the three with little success as they only connected on 4 of 12 attempts in the second quarter. But hold up, wait a minute. Something happened that created a loud roar in the Cherry Hill East gymnasium. Bullock hit his first three pointer of the game with 2:37 remaining in the half.
With the poor shooting from Cherry Hill in the first half, one would think that this game was all Camden. Wagner had only eight first half points as the Panthers went into the locker room with a slim 29-27 lead. Barclay was the leading scorer at the half with twelve points. His play dominated the boards and was the administer of defense for Camden as he had over ten blocked shots in the first half.
As the second half began, Bullock was a bit tentative in firing up the shot from outside. So he moved inside and drained his first two pointer to build up his confidence. Speaking of confidence, the Cougar fans began to see why Camden's point guard is rated so high in the country. Wagner's game picked up as he penetrated inside and created moves that left the fans for both schools amazed. He converted on his first four shots and finished the quarter with ten points, eighteen points through three quarters. Minoff began to find his range as he also scored ten points in the quarter for East. He connected on his first two shots from three point range.
Neither team wanted to lose this game as the scoreboard posted a 48-46 Camden lead to start the final quarter. With both Bullock and center Kwame Biney in foul trouble for East, someone had to pick up their stay close with the Panthers. Camden opened up an eight point lead early in the quarter, 54-46, and it seemed as if the Panthers would run away with the game. But an 8-0 run by East was capped off with Bullock's three pointer to tie the game at 54 with 3:42 remaining in the game. The lead switched back and forth for the next two minutes. Barclay kept Camden in the game by scoring all fifteen of the Panthers points in the quarter. Bullock's fifth 3-pointer with 1:20 remaining in the game put East ahead to stay, 62-60.
Marcus Bullock finished with a team high 24 points, Matthew Minoff had 22 points and Andy Schwartz contributed 16 points for Cherry Hill East. Camden's Arthur Barclay finished with a game high 34 points, DaJuan Wagner added 18 points and Terry Wood dropped in 10 points.
Photos by Art Redd
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