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High School Basketball:
Lancers LEAP Past Salem and into the S.J. Group I Finals

Saturday, March 4, 2006

By Art Redd
SJSports Staff Writer

Everything is set, so clear your schedule for one of the most anticipated match-ups in our area. For the first time in their school's history, the Lancers from LEAP Academy advanced to the Group I finals with their 85-70 victory over Salem played at Woodrow Wilson High School. The finals will feature the number one seeded Lancers going up against the high flying Blue Devils from Burlington City who defeated Riverside to advance to the finals that will be held on Tuesday at 7 pm at Clearview. The Lancers would go on a 14-4 run over a two minute period during the second quarter that finally broke this game wide open. Lance James would lead the Lancers in scoring with 25 points.

Basketball is a game of adjustments and executing on those adjustments is what can change a game around. Salem's Derrick Parsley had his way during the first quarter against the Lancers' zone defense. Parsley went 4 for 6 inside the paint helping the Rams hold onto an 18-16 lead late in the first quarter. From that point on, the coaching staff from LEAP packed in their zone defense and that defense eliminated the easy baskets. Salem would be able to break the full court press that was put on them during the entire game, but their half court offense had trouble during the second quarter.

The Lancers would start the second quarter with a one point lead and that's when Will Mace began to insert his high flying scoring act into this game. LEAP would open up a nine point lead when Mace, who scored ten of his points during the second quarter, rose up for a monster jam that showed off his leaping ability. The Rams would be held to just nine shots during the second and were outscored 27-9 during that period. LEAP would hold a 46-27 lead at the break.

Salem would begin to insert Dexler Cannady back into this game where he would score 9 of his 15 points during the third quarter. The Lancers would keep pace and outscore Salem by six points during that quarter. During the final quarter was when the Rams began to take the quick shots and would outscore LEAP during the final quarter, especially when Jamir Thomas and began launching NBA three pointers and connecting on them. His back to back threes brought the score to 79-69 with 1:07 remaining in the game. But the Lancers would connect on their free throws to seal the victory.

Score Box

Salem Rams- Jamir Thomas 11 -- LEAP Academy- Will Mace
Clarence Dunn 15 John Crawford
Shamar Gilbert 10 Nate Cooper
Derrick Parsley 21 Mike Craig
Dexler Cannady 15 Lance James
Chauncey Gilliam
Dylan Talley
Jamal Bayor-Ali
Eric Johnson

Photos by Hugh Tsung

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