By Vincent Lewis
SJSports Staff Writer
It has been an intense past two games so far for the boy’s basketball team from Paulsboro. The Red Raiders, after beginning the season with three reasonable easy wins, have had two nail-biting endings resulting in two point victories. A determined Panther’s team had a chance to send this Colonial Conference game into overtime on a buzzer beater, but the attempt was rejected to preserve an 88-85 win at Collingswood High School. Russell Carter came up big for the Red Raiders blocking Joey Soto’s game-tying attempt.
Paulsboro’s previous match up was against Haddon Heights on Saturday and that wasn’t an easy win. The Red Raiders walked way with a 2 point win. That same Heights team also gave Collingswood fits but the Panthers ended up the winning by eight points. So today’s game would prove to be an interesting inter-conference battle.
Except for the first quarter, both teams played pretty evenly relying on setting up good shot attempts and positioning themselves for the rebounds. On a day when the offense highlighted this game scoring a total of 173, it provided an entertaining basketball game. Paulsboro had the hot hand early scoring the first 14 points. Collingswood would settle down and give the home fans the confidence that no lead was too large. The Panthers would erase a nine point first quarter deficit and trail 45-38 at the end of the first half.
Collingswood began to chip away at their opponent’s lead behind the shooting of Joe Soto, Brandon Whittington, Justin Dempsey and Kenny Chambers. Soto led the Panthers attack and was finally rewarded when Whittington tied the game with just over 4 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. But that’s when Russell Carter and Yahmeen Johnson responded by breaking an 83 all tie with 31 seconds remaining in the game. Joel Rone’s last basket of the game put Paulsboro up by three setting up Soto’s game tying attempt. Carter timed his leap to reject any hopes of an overtime game.
Paulsboro was lead by Russell Carter’s team high 29 points, not far behind him was Yahmeen Johnson with 28 points and Joel Rone finished with 18 point for the Red Raiders. Collingswood high scorers were Joe Soto and his 30 game high points, Justin Dempsey dropped in 17, Kenny Chambers added 16 and Brandon Whittington chipped in 10 points for the Panthers. Next up for Paulsboro is a divisional match up with Lindenwold, while Collingswood travels to Audubon.