Wednesday, March 2, 2005
By Vincent Lewis
Let’s face it, this time of the year has to bring excitement even to the casual fan when it’s the high school’s turn to play the game of March Madness. With all of the brackets and seedings established within the groups, previous regular season records really doesn’t mean much when the opening tip-off takes place on the basketball court. Upsets are bound to happen and did during the second round of the South Jersey Group 4 boy’s basketball tournament at Cherry Hill East High School. The three point shooting Cougars went up against a defensive minded Washington Township team that was successful in slowing down East’s perimeter shooting. The Minutemen would advance to the next round of the playoffs with their 50-47 victory in front of their visiting faithful fans.
The Group 4 bracket watched the eleventh seeded Minutemen start out their run to the title game with a 49-43 win over sixth seeded Mainland in the opening round. Facing yet another higher seed the very next day, Washington Township knew very well about the success the Cougars were having nailing the three pointer from any spot behind the arch. Just about every player on Cherry Hill East’s team has demonstrated that ability with Brian Young, Jared Ettinger and Antonio Sherman combining for seven three pointers in this game. But it was the attempts that did not go in due to the Minutemen’s defense around the perimeter that highlighted the second half of this game.
Both teams began firing up the three ball combining for 38 first quarter points. When the quarter ended, 7 shots made it through the hoop from behind the arch with Young accounting for three of the four made by East. Township only trailed by two points to start the next quarter but quickly found themselves trailing at the half 33-24. The Cougars converted just one three pointer by Sherman in outscoring Washington Township 13-6 during the second quarter.
The second half was a different story for both teams. With Young still firing up the three ball but not finding any success, the Minutemen went on a 16-7 run to start the third quarter to tie the game at 40 with 1:52 remaining in the quarter. Dan Betteridge hit his 4th three pointer of the game to tie it but the Cougars would score the last two baskets to end the quarter with a four point lead.
The intensity picked up during the final eight minutes with the Minutemen tying the game again and then took the lead at 47-44 on Betteridge’s three pointer with 4:11 remaining in the game. That lead would expand to 50-44 with just over two minutes remaining showing on the clock but East would not get a chance to tie the game as the Minutemen milked the clock away. Adrian Gailliard was the leading scorer for Washington Township scoring 11 of his 20 points in the first half. Dan Betteridge converted 4 three pointers and finished the game with 15 points. Cherry Hill East’s Brian Young also finished with a team high 20 points which included 4 three pointers and Jeremy Kaminer added 12 points for the Cougars.