Inquirer South Jersey Player of the Year: Jake Silpe, Cherry Hill East
Cherry Hill East coach Dave Allen said basketball standout Jake Silpe was a "rock star" at the school.
That was before the season.
If anything, Silpe's status in the hallways at Cherry Hill East has grown after his leading role in the best season in the history of the program.
Silpe led Cherry Hill East to a school-record 26 victories, including an 18-0 mark in home games.
Silpe also sparked the Cougars to their second straight South Jersey Group 4 title - after showing the way to the program's first sectional crown in 2014 - and first appearance in the state final in the 47-year history of the school.
"He does it all for us," Allen said of Silpe, the Inquirer's South Jersey boys' basketball player of the year.
Bound for the University of Pennsylvania, the 6-foot-2 Silpe could have coasted through his senior season after such a remarkable run for the Cougars during his junior year.
But he took his game to another level, averaging 18.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 3.1 steals and playing his best basketball against the best competition.
Beyond the numbers, Silpe's confident and intelligent play seemed to inspire his teammates, who rallied around their leader as the Cougars captured another sectional title and brought six busloads of red-clad students along for the ride to the state finals at Rutgers University.