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Cherry Hill East defeats Cherry Hill West, 76-62

The battle of Cherry Hill was part basketball game, part track meet. West stayed in contact with its long-distance shooting.

The battle of Cherry Hill was part basketball game, part track meet.

West stayed in contact with its long-distance shooting.

East pulled away with sprinter's speed.

The Cougars raced away from the Lions, scoring again and again on fastbreaks en route to a 76-62 victory before a large, loud crowd in Cherry Hill West's gymnasium.

Senior forward Jake Gurkin led Cherry Hill East with 29 points and 11 rebounds, while senior guard Marc Schlessel added 26 points in a fast-paced game in a charged atmosphere with chanting student sections from both schools.

"The students were a big part of it," said Gurkin, a 6-foot-6 athlete who used his speed to beat Cherry Hill West defenders down the floor and his height to score on put-backs and inside moves.

Junior forward Gary Hettinger collected 11 points and nine rebounds, and senior guard Jesse Gold had seven assists for Cherry Hill East (2-0).

Senior guard Marquis Goodman scored 21 for Cherry Hill West (1-2).

Junior forward Ryan Lee and sophomore guard Rodney Williams each added 14 for the Lions, who made 10 three-point jumpers.

That was 10 times as many as East, as the Cougars made just one jumper from distance. That was a twist, since East long has been known for its three-point shooting.

But the Cougars shot mostly layups, often in transition.

"The transition game has been a staple of the East offense," said first-year East coach Dave Allen. "We like to see these kids get out and run the floor."

East broke the game open in the second quarter, outscoring West by 20-11 to take a 37-23 halftime lead.

"The game plan was to get the ball to Jake," Schlessel said. "It's awesome to play with Jake. He can get down the floor. I was able to get free because they were so worried about him."

West battled back as Lee hit three three-point jumpers in the third quarter and Goodman added two.

"What I liked best was that our kids never quit," West coach Hamasi Tarrant said. "We knew we had a tough matchup in some spots. We see these guys all year long. But our kids got down and battled back."

Cherry Hill East 17 20 23 16 - 76

Cherry Hill West 12 11 23 16 - 62

CHE: Marc Schlessel 26, Jake Gurkin 29, Gary Hettinger 11, Jesse Gold 2, Brett Roseman 2, Jake Silpe 6.

CHW: Marcus Sumpter 2, Rodney Williams 14, Marquis Goodman 21, Ryan Lee 14, Greg Smolsky 3, Will Plenty 4, Sean Mularkey 2, John Ortramu 2.