PISCATAWAY, N.J. - It was 32 minutes that validated four years.
Paulsboro's seniors didn't just put a cherry on the top of their careers in Sunday's state championship game. They emptied the whole jar, squirted the entire can of whipped cream and poured out the complete container of sprinkles.
"It's like a dream," senior Saleem Little said after Paulsboro's 78-48 victory over University in the Group 1 state title game Sunday at Rutgers University.
Little generated 13 points and 12 rebounds and seniors Theo Holloway and Brandon Hamilton each scored 20 for Paulsboro (30-2).
The victory secured Paulsboro's first state title since 1996 and sent the Red Raiders into the Tournament of Champions as the fifth seed.
Paulsboro will face fourth-seeded Bergenfield, the Group 3 champion, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Toms River North.
Most significantly, the victory cemented the legacy of Paulsboro's senior class, especially four-year varsity players such as Little and Holloway.
"This is what we wanted all four years," Holloway said. "It finally happened."
Said Little: "We worked all summer for this. We believed we could do it. It's unbelievable."
Paulsboro's seniors walked into the Rutgers Athletic Center on Sunday as part of a program that had collected 111 victories, three South Jersey Group 1 titles and four conference titles in the last four seasons.
The only thing the Red Raiders lacked was a state title.
They took care of business quickly and efficiently, overwhelming University with the same kind of pressure defense and transition offense that has dominated many Colonial Conference foes for much of the recent past.
Paulsboro broke the game open with a 19-9 surge in the second quarter, with strong work from Hamilton (six points on a pair of three-pointers), Holloway (four points, two assists) and senior guards De'Shaun Burgess (six of his seven points) and Cherron Quarles (three-pointer).
Fittingly, all 19 points were scored by 12th graders.
"These guys have done so much," Paulsboro coach Sean Collins said. "I know Atlantic City won two in a row [in Group 4 in 2012 and 2013], but it's hard for me to imagine a group that's done more than these guys in four years.
"This is a great cap to their careers."
Paulsboro left no doubt in the second half, stretching its lead to as much as 32 points against a battle-tested North Jersey Group 1 champion that had lost to Group 2 state champion Newark Tech by just two points on Feb. 20.
"This was our goal, to go to the RAC [Rutgers Athletic Center], and we finally got it done," Hamilton said.
With Paulsboro holding a 35-21 lead at the break, Collins said he told his players in the locker room that their legacy in their sports-crazy town was on the line in the second half.
"I told them, 'You've got 16 minutes, and you can walk like legends in that town for the rest of your lives,' " Collins said.
Paulsboro 16 19 23 20 - 78
University 12 9 18 9 - 48
P: Theo Holloway 20, John Pellegrini 7, Brandon Hamilton 20, Saleem Little 13, DeShaun Burgess 7, Dehron Holloway 3, Cherron Quarles 5, Tyrique King 3.