The Southern Regional boys basketball team's season ended Saturday, but the Rams say it didn't take away from their memorable year and playoff run.

The seventh-seeded Rams lost to No. 6 Cherokee 63-39 in a South Jersey Group IV semifinal game in Marlton.

The Rams had a hard time scoring early, Southern coach Eric Fierro said by telephone.

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Fierro said, however, that the Rams' season was "outstanding" overall, despite the disappointing finale.

"We played against a top team in Cherokee on the road in a rough environment," Fierro said. "We missed a lot of shots early, and it was uncharacteristic of us. We knew there would be trouble coming back against a team as well-coached as Cherokee."

Southern (18-9) was coming off an upset win over the second-seeded and two-time defending state Group IV champion Atlantic City 56-55 on Thursday.

Paul Belamy led Cherokee with18 points. Kyle Kahriger added 10.

The Rams trailed 34-18 at halftime. Senior forward Mike Gesicki was held to eight points in the first half and finished with 14 points and 22 rebounds.

Jake Logue led the Rams with 18 points.

Fierro was a first-year coach when Gesicki came into the program.

"Coming in and knowing I was going to have a budding star like that as a freshman was a blessing for me over the last four years," Fierro said.

Gesicki will play football for Penn State. He verbally committed last fall.

"He had the option to bag on basketball after getting his football scholarship, but he didn't," Fierro said. "He's the type of kid that wanted to make every program he's a part of better."

Contact John Russo:


Southern 7 11 15 6-39

Cherokee 14 20 13 16-63

SR-Gesicki 6 1-2 14, Yaiser 1 0-2 2, Sheehan 0 1-2 1, Logue 8 0-3 18, Clark 1 2-2 4. Totals-16 4-11 39.

Cherokee-Kahriger 2 5-6 10, Belamy 7 3-4 18, Wixted 3 3-3 9, Handel 3 1-2 7, Powell 2 3-4 9, Tobin 1 0-0 3, Brown 0 1-2 1, Cunningham 2 0-0 5, Douglas 0 1-2 1. Totals-20 17-23 63.

3-pointers-Gesicki, Logue (2) SR; Kahriger, Belamy, Powell (2), Tobin, Cunningham C.

Records-Southern 18-9; Cherokee 20-8.


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