By Vincent Lewis
SJSports Staff Writer
The finals always bring out the best in every player stepping out on the basketball court. Paulsboro's Russell Carter and Schalick's Paul Gause each has demonstrated all season long that they could lead their team to a title. Eager to get the game started and taking their first shot removing all the anxiety out of their body, the South Jersey Group 1 boy's champions were crowned at Clearview High School this night. With the game on the line and Schalick attempting to tie this game late, Carter's defense sealed the Red Raiders 89-86 victory to claim the title.
Paulsboro found out first hand how good the sophomore guard from Schalick was as his ability to score from any range was demonstrated. Gause would help the Cougars overcome several double-digit deficits, but Paulsboro would stay one step ahead of Schalick when it counted. Schalick would trail by a 42-30 margin with 3:30 remaining in the second quarter. That’s when the Cougars would make a run before the half going on a 12-2 run. Each attempt the Cougars made to take the lead was met with key baskets by the entire boy’s basketball team from Paulsboro. When the two teams entered the half, Paulsboro would have a 44-42 advantage.
For the next two quarters, Carter along with Johnson and Joel Rone provided Paulsboro with several options at scoring. The Red Raiders would fall behind Schalick by two points with 4:20 showing on the third quarter clock, but would take a 69-66 lead into the final quarter. But no lead was safe as long as Gause was on the court. Schalick would tie this game at 76 all. George Davis’ baskets with 2:55 remaining gave Paulsboro a lead they would never relinquish for the rest of the way. Schalick continued to stay in striking distance but close enough to overtake their opponent. Gause would nail a last second three pointer with the game clock winding down, but a key defensive steal by Carter dashed the hopes of a dramatic comeback by fighting Cougars from Schalick.
With the victory, the Red Raiders would have a semi-finals matchup with Piscataway Tech the Group 1 state title. Paulsboro, during their South Jersey Group 1 title run, was lead by Russell Carter and his 27-team high game points, Johnson added 23 points, Joel Rone finished with 17 points and George Davis added 10 points. Schalick was lead by Paul Gause who scored a game high 39-points, Hoyer’s 10 points and Hill’s 10 points.