Baville – The Cherokee High School Girls Basketball Team defeated the Jackson Memorial 34-45 in the NJSIAA Group 4 semifinal game on March 10 at Central Regional High School.

Senior Katie Fricker scored 23 points, making her the second of the season to lead the Chiefs in a defensive battle with the Central Jersey Champions Jaguars (22-6, 11-1 Shore South A Division).

“I thought we played well for the most part,” Cherokee coach Ron Powell said. “It was hard to get into the flow for either team as officials called the trips of both teams in the first quarter. We had a few outdoor shots that we usually take, but last night they didn’t fall out early. ”

Fricker, the team’s top scorer, averaging 13.3 points per game this season, made three 3-pointers – giving her 55 per season – and was almost perfect (6 out of 7) from the foul line in the fourth quarter.

“Katie Fricker played great on both ends of the floor,” Powell said. “We expected this from her. She had an incredible season for us. “

Cherokee held the Jackson Memorial by just one point in the first quarter and two in the second. At the break, the Chiefs were 10-3.

“The biggest problem for us was not to give them open views from a three-point line,” Powell said. “We did a great job closing them in defense.”

Junior Zoe Maffei scored 12 points and four rebounds, and senior Amber Williams added eight points and eight rebounds in the Jaguar. Williams ’buckle led to the Jackson Memorial with a score of 22-21, remaining about three minutes mostly. However, this would be the next coach to get Jaguars Rachel Goodell, as Fricker and the Chiefs were eventually able to hold on. Cherokee’s victory was the fourth in a row over the Jackson Memorial in the playoffs, which began in 2016.

Cherokee goes against North 2 champion in the Westfield section (27-5), 46-31 winner over Union City in the second semifinal of Group 4, in the state championship in Group 4 on Sunday, March 13 at the RWJBarnabus Health Arena on the campus North Thoms High School -River. Seagull at noon.

This weekend, the Chiefs reach the final, winning the last seven games, and their strong defensive abilities are a big part of their success this season.

“We are hanging our hats in our defense,” Powell said. “It’s part of our culture here. These kids know that we, as coaches, won’t put them on the floor unless they compete in defense. We are giving away less than 30 points per game in our 30 games this season. ”

It was almost two years ago on a day when the Cherokee 30-1 team was preparing to play Franklin Township in the state championship in Group 4 after beating Montgomery 43-27 in the semifinals, only to have the title game canceled due to pandemic.

“I think it’s very good for these kids to get a chance to get back into this game after what happened to us in 2019-20,” Powell said. “To COVID deprived us of the opportunity to earn the state championship and then the NJSIAA (New Jersey Inter-School Sports Association) without calling us state champions, but the invention of the southern regional champion was a disappointment for the girls. For Katie Fricker, Gabi Resinta, CJ Apistara and Delaney Jackson, who were part of the 30-1 team that didn’t get a chance to play in this game, it’s really cool for them. “

Coach Liz McKeon’s Westfield team, which has won five straight in a row, will appear at the state championships for the first time this weekend. This season, the Blue Devils became the first in the school’s history.

“Westfield are a very good team with a very good player (senior Grace Klag) who will be attending Bucknell University next year,” Powell said. “They also have four good arrows around the perimeter. It will be a difficult challenge for us, but we will make every effort. “

Semifinals of the 4th NJSIAA State Group

March 10, Baville

Cherokee 34, Jackson Memorial 25

Cherokee 2-8-12-12 – 34

Jackson M. 1-2-13-8 – 25

Cherokee (27-3, 11th American Olympics)

Points: Katie Fricker 23, Gabby Resinto 8, CJ Apister 3; 3-pointers: Fricker 3, Apistar; Selections: Resinto 8, Brianna Wegner 4, Delaney Jackson 3, Fricker 2, Olivia Selverian 2, Apistar.

Jackson Memorial (22-6, 11-1 Shore A South)

Points: Zoe Maffei 12, Amber Williams 8, Camille Maxellite 5; 3-pointers: Maffei; Rebounds: Williams 8, Maxlight 6, Maffei 4, Brooke McCown 2.

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