Tuesday, March 8, 2005
By Jason Brown
Clearview High School was the neutral site for this year’s South Jersey Group I boy’s basketball championship game. The two top seeded teams made their way through the bracket with Burlington City labeled as the number one team in the group taking on the Cougars from Schalick. When the first quarter ended, the Blue Devils were ahead by seven points but that was only the beginning of this title game. No lead was safe when Paul Gause is on the court, or not on the court. During their 74-72 victory over Burlington City, it was a team effort that was the winners in this game.
This year we have heard about quite a few players reaching the one thousand point milestone and some two thousand point achievers. Senior guard Paul Gause has surpassed a higher milestone finishing the season with 3,078 career points. During his career, the Cougars were present in the past two title quests but coming up short displaying that trophy in their school’s hallways. A semifinals loss last year and a loss in the championship two years ago had to be looming in the minds of most looking for a chance after making it to this year’s title game.
Burlington City was the team with experience in this game as they were looking to repeat as championship. The Blue Devils have won two of the past three titles and their second straight title after being labeled as the top seed in the bracket. It wasn’t going to be easy as their first quarter lead disappeared into a 36-32 halftime deficit. Regaining the lead during third quarter seemed to be enough after building a 58-44 advantage with Gause on the bench with an injury. But a team effort by the Cougars cut into that deficit and with the return of their leading scorer, finished off Burlington City in the final minutes to capture their school’s first basketball title. Paul Gause finished the game with 29 game high points while Eric Mills added 16 points for Schalick. Vince Anthony led the Blue Devils with 23 points and Mike Morris finished the game with 22 points.