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Daniel Leonard lifts Cherokee past Cherry Hill East in first round of South Jersey Group 4 playoffs

Cherokee' Daniel Leonard (33) takes a shot against Cherry Hill East in the first round of the South Jersey Group 4 boys' basketball playoffs at Cherokee High School in Evesham, New Jersey on Wednesday, February 21, 2024. Collin Conway/D2 Sports Network

EVESHAM - In the Olympic Conference American Division, all five teams clinched a postseason spot. Each program resides in South Jersey Group 4 which means teams are likely to meet again in the playoffs.

This scenario played out as seventh-seeded Cherokee hosted 10th-seeded Cherry Hill East in the first round of the South Jersey Group 4 bracket. The Chiefs downed their division rival, 32-26, on Wednesday night.

Cherokee will visit second-seeded Eastern in the South Jersey Group 4 quarterfinals on Monday. The Marlton program has won four straight games and improved its record to 18-11.

In classic Cherry Hill East-Cherokee fashion, both sides approached the game as a deliberate and methodical chess match. Cherry Hill East's Chris Delgado scored the game's first basket on a jumper inside the arc before the Chiefs responded with a 6-0 run on back-to-back three-point field goals from Judd Holt and Michael Altee. The Cougars regained the lead with a 5-0 spurt of their own to establish a 7-6 advantage.

Points remained at a premium in the second quarter.

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