Tuesday, March 7, 2006
By Vincent Lewis
Even before the opening tip-off took place, this South Jersey Group I title game between the top seeded Lancers from LEAP Academy and the second seeded Blue Devils from Burlington City was a match-up and a test both teams were ready to take on. Burlington City features a guard oriented offense that anyone of them could take control of a game. The Lancers has the convenience of deep bench with players being inserted into the game without losing anything on the court. With the Lancers holding onto a one point lead heading into the final quarter, LEAP Academy would win the battle of the boards with their height and post a 90-83 victory and capture their first title in their brief school year’s history.
It didn’t take long for both teams to begin to find room for the open shot. The Blue Devils’ Kareem Diggs and Mike Morris were successful at attacking the basket and that aggressiveness allowed City to open up a four point lead after one quarter. Burlington would begin to connect from behind the three point arch which opened up the lane for Derrick Price to penetrate to the basket. LEAP would keep pace during the second quarter as this game was tied at 34 apiece with 2:11 remaining up halftime. A mini 8-2 run by the Lancers that was highlighted by Will Mace’s two one handed dunks opened up a six point advantage. LEAP would lead at the break with a 42-38 score.
LEAP would start the second half opening up a nine point advantage, 52-43, that eventually would be erased by Burlington City. The Blue Devils would take a 60-59 lead and the see-saw battle began with the Lancers leading by one heading into the final quarter. But during the final quarter, the intensity picked up and Burlington would cut their deficit to 80-79 with 1:25 remaining. A basket by Lance James and a dunk by Mace gave LEAP three point advantage. Burlington’s Kris Correy’s basket with 30 seconds remaining pulled the Blue Devils again within a point, 84-83. James, who finished the game with 28 points, sank two free throws and a rebound by Dillon Talley sealed the game for the Lancers. Lance James had a game high 28 points, Will Mace added 22 and Chauncey Gilliam dropped in 18 points for LEAP Academy. Kareem Diggs also had a game high 28 points while Mike Morris finished with 18 points and Derrick Pace had 17 for the Blue Devils.
Photos by Art Redd