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High School Basketball:
Defense Rallies Lenape Past Cherokee

Thursday, January 4, 2007

By Joyce Sagerty
SJSports Special Correspondent

Even before the teams stepped out onto the court, you could see the flowers and balloons for the anticipated celebration for Cherokee's Laura Sweeney 1000th point being scored. Sweeney would reach that milestone on her third basket of the game. When the host Lady Indians from Lenape watched that celebration lead to the Chiefs taking a double digit lead into the second quarter, Lenape's defense aggressively began to pressure their opponent and reduced their deficit to four points at halftime. The game would come down to the Lady Indians aggressive play on the boards and two clutch free throws down to stretch. Lenape would extend their winning streak to four games with their 53-50 win over a very tough Cherokee squad.

Cherokee was having a very good start to their season. The Chiefs had won their first six games on their schedule and they were looking to add Sweeney’s celebration to their resume with their seventh victory of the season. Cherokee jumped out to a 15-5 lead after one quarter and were looking to continue dominating the paint. But that’s when Lenape applied the man-to-man pressure disrupting the Chiefs offense. Freshman Kendra Johnson and Christine Foggie both aggressive met the ball handler at half court leaving the Chiefs looking for answers. The Indians would outscore Cherokee 17-11 and trailed by four points at the break.

When the second half began, Lenape’s offense picked up and the Indians would be rewarded with a 40-39 lead at the start of the final quarter. Sweeney was still a force to be dealt with and Cherokee didn’t let their opponent get too far ahead. The Chiefs would regain the lead at 46-45, but right back came the Indians. Taylor Dunek was able to control the boards putting back a couple of shots that would finally put Lenape ahead for good. Foggie would convert on two big free throws with 28 seconds remaining and the Lady Indians would pick up the three point victory. Christina Foggie led Lenape with 18 points while Sasha Simpson finished with 13. Laura Sweeney led all scorers with 21 points and Tiffany Turner chipped in 10 points for Cherokee.

Photos by Hugh Tsung

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